Legal Delaware Sports Betting to Commence Tuesday, June 5th

Delaware’s Office of the Governor has officially announced that the state’s three licensed casinos will commence sports betting at 1:30 PM on Tuesday, June 5th. Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway will begin taking wagers on a full contingent of professional sports next week.

In a press release, the Governor’s Office explains that Delaware’s three casinos will begin taking single-game and championship wagers on Tuesday for the following pro sports:

  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Golf
  • Auto Racing

The Delaware Lottery has also posted a how-to guide for sports betting on its website here. Looking at that guide, it appears the Delaware lottery is planning to eventually roll out money lines, point spreads, parlays, teasers and futures. This is based only on the types of bets the Lottery took the time to explain in detail, but we’ll find out for sure soon enough.

A sports betting rulebook has also been published online here at the DE Lottery website. A look through the guide reveals references to college sports betting. Yesterday’s press release does not indicate college betting will be authorized immediately, but it did state a 2009 law passed in Delaware authorizes betting on professional and college sports.

Whether or not betting on college sports should be authorized has been a matter of some debate in recent years. Those opposed to taking bets on college sports worry that amateur athletes will be more susceptible to corruption and bribery due to a lack of pay. It will be interesting to see where Delaware comes out on the issue.

Delaware on Track to Become First Legal Sports Betting State Since Nevada

Barring any surprises, Delaware will become the first state outside of Nevada to book a legal sports wager on an individual game since the Supreme Court’s decision last month declaring PASPA unconstitutional.

That decision has paved the way for individual states to follow Nevada’s footsteps and regulate sports betting. A handful of states were granted exemptions from PASPA for limited forms of parlay-style wagering and betting squares, but no state except Nevada has had the legal authority to regulate single-game sports betting since PASPA took effect in 1993.

New Jersey led the legal challenge against PASPA, but lawmakers over there are busy forming regulations to ensure the industry runs smoothly. The latest word from New Jersey is officials are hoping to see sports betting go live on or shortly after June 7th.

Delaware is able to move quickly on the issue thanks to a law passed in 2009 expanding the state’s legal sports betting options. The NCAA and pro sports leagues cited PASPA in a successful challenge of the law. Although the 2009 law never took effect, it was also never formally repealed.

Now that PASPA is no longer in effect, Delaware can move forward on sports betting without having to draft and pass new legislation. In the press release, the Governor’s Office explains they’ve already looked into the matter and have determined Delaware has the legal authority to begin sports betting immediately:

“The Delaware Department of Finance, in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office, has determined that there are no legal obstacles to moving forward with full-scale sports betting in Delaware following the U.S. Supreme Court decision on May 14 to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Under state law passed in 2009, Delaware may authorize betting on professional and collegiate sports, with the exception of games involving Delaware-based teams.”

What about online sports betting in Delaware?

It appears there are no immediate plans to initiate online sports betting in Delaware. The statement from the Governor’s Office did not mention online sports betting, but the state does have that option with PASPA out of the way.

Delaware’s online gaming regulations do not specifically prohibit sports betting. Furthermore, the state’s three casinos already offer online casino games and poker using software developed by international betting company 888. If the state chooses to proceed with online sports betting, the casinos have what they need to make it happen.