Delaware is usually referred to as the “First State” because on 7 December 1787 it became the first state in the US to ratify the US constitution. Ironically on 5 June 2018 Delaware also became the “First State” outside of Nevada to offer full-blown legalized sports betting.
The state of Delaware was also the third state to legalize online gambling, placing it on the same playing field as Nevada and New Jersey. Although it is a pretty small state, Delaware is definitely one of the more interesting cases when it comes to gambling in the US, as sports betting has been available to residents to a certain extent since 1992.
Can I bet on sports in Delaware?
Yes. Under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) Delaware was one of the four states to be granted exemption from the ban on sports betting. The state was initially only allowed to offer parlay wagering.
Parlay wagering is a sports bet that involves two or more teams winning. These are usually very popular wagers in sports betting markets as they accumulate value and can net bettors a higher payout.
Over the past 10 years, the Delaware lottery has offered bettors three-team NFL parlays.
When PASPA was repealed in May 2018, Delaware sought to expand sports betting offerings in the state, and now offers full-scale sports betting. The state now allows residents to place single-game wagers, money line bets, future bets and teaser bets.
A single game wager is a bet on the outcome of a single game, while a money line bet is a bet placed on a team to win a game without the use of a point spread, meaning that the score a team wins by does not matter. A future bet is a wager placed on an event that is still quite a ways off, such as next year’s NFL season. Teaser bets can also be placed, which are bets that allow the bettor to adjust the point spreads in their favour. Teaser bets usually have significantly lower payouts than the other bet types.
Where can I place sports bets?
You can place sports bets at any of the three land-based casinos in Delaware. All three of the state’s casinos have sportsbooks on their premises. All three casinos are also classed as racinos, these are establishments which combine a casino and racetrack.
|Dover Downs Hotel & Casino||Dover|
|Harrington Raceway & Casino||Harrington|
While just three casinos may sound like a limited offering, it isn’t so modest when you consider Delaware’s population of under one million. Plus, despite being a relatively small state, Delaware’s gambling sector is the states fourth largest revenue stream.
What sports can I bet on?
In Delaware, you can place bets on all professional and college sports. These sports include: Auto racing, Baseball, Basketball, Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Football, Golf, Hockey, and Soccer.
Can I place sports bets online or on mobile?
At the moment, real money online bets can only be placed on horse racing events.
The sports betting market in Delaware is still in its infancy and officials have yet to authorize sports betting for online platforms. However, it shouldn’t be long until state officials greenlight online sports betting when you consider how laid back they are when it comes to other forms of online gambling.
In the first month of the NFL season roughly $17m was wagered on sports in Delaware, with so much money on the table it shouldn’t be too long until online sports betting is given the greenlight.
Compare.bet will continue to monitor the development of sports gambling in Delaware and provide updates as and when they’re available.
What else can I bet on in Delaware?
Aside from sports betting the “First State” offers a variety of gambling options for residents and visitors, both online and offline. Online gamblers in Delaware have access to a variety of online casinos games including slots and table games like poker and blackjack. Social gambling sites also have a strong presence in the state. The three most popular social casino sites available to residents in Delaware are Zynga, Slotomania and Big Fish Casino. All of these offer a variety of online casino games. You can also place bets on horse racing events online.
The states online gambling industry has effectively been combined into a single platform operated by Scientific Games and 888 Holdings. Each of the state’s casinos operate branded web portals which all redirect to the same online gambling platform.
In terms of land-based opportunities, the three casinos in Delaware offer a wide array of choice. Each of the three casinos have over 2000 slot machines on site, with some of them being video terminals. The casinos also offer your standard selection of casino table games which include games like poker and blackjack. All of the states three casinos have race tracks as well, which makes betting on horse races easy and convenient.
Is it safe to bet on sports in Delaware?
The three casinos in Delaware that offer sports betting are fully licensed and regulated and therefore guarantee fair results and a safe betting experience. However, to make sure gambling remains fun, it’s important to gamble responsibly and avoid betting more than you can afford to lose.
If you have any concerns surrounding problem gambling involving yourself, or a loved one the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems has a number of resources available to help you.
You can contact the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems and speak to a fully trained counsellor via:
Main phone number – 888-850-8888 – open 24 hours 7 days a week
Text – 302-438-888 – open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm
You can also live chat with a counsellor on the organization’s website – open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
Are offshore gambling sites legal in Delaware?
As it stands online gambling in the state of Delaware is not legal. Therefore the same applies to offshore and foreign gambling sites.
We recommend avoiding offshore gambling sites and instead wait for legal and regulated online betting. This is because the vast majority of offshore gambling sites don’t have a license to operate in Delaware and are not subject to strict regulatory standards. This means they may not be secure or may not have player protection measures in place to protect vulnerable players.
Who regulates sports gambling in Delaware?
The Delaware Lottery is responsible for overseeing all gambling regulation and monitoring the industry in Delaware. The Delaware Lottery was created in 1974 and is run by the state government.
The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement also plays a role in the state. This legal department is responsible for making sure that online casino operators in the state are legitimate and secure.
In terms of gambling licensing the states three casinos effectively share the licensing costs which is based on the amount of tax they pay on their slot machines.
You can contact the Delaware Lottery via:
You can send the Delaware Lottery an email via the online form on its website
You can also contact their main office via:
You can contact the Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement via:
Main Line: 302-526-5850
To report criminal activity in Delaware’s Casinos or provide an anonymous tip:
Lieutenant Marshall Craft at 302-526-5852
Mailing Address: Division of Gaming Enforcement, P.O. Box 818, Dover, DE 19903-0818
How old do I have to be to gamble in Delaware?
In the state of Delaware, you must be at least 18 years old to purchase a Delaware Lottery ticket. You must be 21 years old if you wish to play video lottery, sports lottery, table games, gamble online, and bet on sports.
The journey to legal and regulated sports betting in Delaware:
1976 – The state of Delaware attempts to legalize sports betting but is unsuccessful
1992 – Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibiting sports betting across US states. Four states were made exempt from the law; Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. These states had legal sports betting regulations in place.
Delaware was granted a partial exemption on the basis that it would only offer parlay wagering. Through the entire lifetime of PASPA residents of Delaware were permitted to place 3-game parlay wagers on NFL games.
2009 – Delaware attempts to expand its sports betting offerings with a bill that would allow for wagers to be placed on the outcome of a single game across all professional sports.
The bill was passed at a state level and signed into law by Governor Jack Markell and would allow Delaware to expand its sports betting offerings.
The major sports leagues in the US caught wind of this and filed a lawsuit to stop the bill. The leagues were successful. A federal court found that the 2009 Delaware sports betting law violated PASPA as full-blown sports betting was not legal in Delaware when PASPA was initially passed.
Markell appealed the court ruling to the US Supreme Court, but they refused to hear the case. If the appeal was successful there is a very real possibility that Delaware would have driven the legal battle against PASPA and the sports leagues rather than New Jersey.
However, the bill was never formally repealed meaning it could be revived without having to go through the typical legislative process.
2017 – Multiple news outlets begin reporting that Governor John Carney’s administration was looking into bringing the 2009 law back if the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of New Jersey in its legal battle to repeal PASPA.
2018 – On 14 May, the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional and repealed it. It ruled that PASPA violated the tenth amendment of the US Constitution as it took the power away from state governments to manage and regulate their own gambling industry.
On 5 June, Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to offer full-blown sports betting. On the same day, Gov. John Carney placed the first legal sports wager at the Dover Downs.