Delaware Becomes First Post-PASPA State to Usher Out Legalized Sports Betting

by Rick Rockwell
on June 4, 2018

Minute Read

On Tuesday, June 5th, Delaware will become the first state to usher in the new era of legalized sports betting since the United States Supreme Court overturned PASPA on May 14th. Last week, the state officially announced their plans for launching sports betting at their casinos and the excitement over what’s to come.

The History of Delaware and PASPA

As we know, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was signed into law in late October of 1992, and went into effect on January 1st, 1993. This law effectively banned sports betting throughout the country. However, there were a few states that were grandfathered in and legally allowed to offer various sports betting opportunities. Everyone knows about Nevada being the mecca of sports betting, but Oregon, Montana and Delaware were also allowed to have limited sports betting within their states.

In 1976, the Delaware Lottery first offered sports betting via NFL parlay cards. However, after one season, the state felt that this was just not popular enough to continue. Over 30 years went by before Delaware started looking at how they could improve their state lottery once again. In 2009, Delaware launched their NFL parlay cards for the first time since 1976, but this time it was met with great success.

According to, the following is a breakdown of revenue generated by the State Lottery:

  • 2009-10: $10.9 million dollars
  • 2010-11: $12.9 million dollars
  • 2011-12: $17.9 million dollars
  • 2012-13: $25.4 million dollars
  • 2013-14: $31.5 million dollars
  • 2014-15: $37.9 million dollars

Since the return of NFL parlay cards to the lottery system, the state profited over $27 million dollars from 2009 to 2015. The parlay card sales rose 30 percent in 2012-13, but tailed off in 2013-14 and 2014-15. By the beginning of 2016, representatives of the Delaware Lottery expressed their concerns over the growth and revenue of their state lottery leveling off. So, the state decided to try and introduce bill-183 that would allow more sports betting opportunities especially via mobile platforms. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well as hoped. Ultimately, the state’s plans were thwarted by PASPA, which pro sports leagues clung to for dear life.

2017’s Plans for the Future

Governor John Carney and his staff realized that there is a strong desire for sports betting with residents of the state. Knowing that there was a chance of New Jersey successfully getting PASPA overturned with SCOTUS in 2018, the state began creating a more comprehensive sports betting platform in 2017. Their goal was to release this new platform should sports betting become legal in 2018.

Delaware officials realized that being the first state to offer legal sports betting would have its advantages. According to, state finance director Rick Geisenberger made the following comments in late 2017:

“If we can get to market faster than some of our neighbors there could be some real upside. We’re working to roll it out as quickly as possible.”

And, just like that, Delaware got its wish as they will now be the first post-PASPA state to offer legalized sports betting.

Delaware’s Legalized Sports Betting

Since Delaware was legally allowed to offer limited sports betting, in the form of NFL parlay cards, they already had a solid framework in place to expand to all forms of sports betting. State officials believed that they could expand their sports betting menu based on the already established sports betting regulations. Once sports betting was unanimously approved, the excitement began trickling out from the top down. Governor John Carney made the following comments in a press release:

“Delaware has all necessary legal and regulatory authority to move forward with a full-scale sports gaming operation, and we look forward to next week’s launch. We’re hopeful that this will bring even more visitors into Delaware to see firsthand what our state has to offer.”

Already having the framework and authority in place, allowed Delaware to get a crucial head start on nearby states like New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

With their plan in place, Delaware will begin taking wagers at their three major casinos on June 5th at 1:30 PM ET. The following casinos will usher in an exciting new era for Delaware:

Delaware Park – Located in Wilmington, this casino first opened as a horse racing tack back in 1937. It wasn’t until the late 90’s that slot machines were introduced and a full blown casino was born. Today, there are over 2,500 slots, horse racing, over 70 table games and more.

Dover Downs Hotel & Casino – in the late 1960’s, Dover Downs begins holding motorsports events and harness racing. By the early 70’s, the popularity of Dover Downs reaches an incredible high. Soon, owners started dreaming of new hopes and plans for this location. Eventually, a publicly traded company would form and run both the racetracks and the gaming. By the early 2000’s the gaming splits into a separate entity and a beautiful hotel and casino is born. More renovations would be done until this place becomes a major attraction. With the news of sports betting being allowed here, their stock rose 18 percent.

Harrington Raceway & Casino – Based in Harrington, roughly 30 minutes from Dover, this casino was also born from horseracing in the late 40’s. It’s a privately owned company that now offers over 1,800 slot machines, 40+ gaming tables, places to eat and more.

Final Words on Delaware’s Sports Betting

Delaware’s NFL lottery parlays last year, according to multiple sources. With that number in mind, the state can easily generate 2 to 3 times that number in 2018 due to sports betting at the casinos mentioned above.

Their massive rollout of sports betting will undergo some tweaks over the next few months, but you can expect to see a more polished framework by the 2018 NFL season as that’s the most popular time of the year for sports bettors.

It’s expected that New Jersey will pass their sports betting laws on June 7th, and then immediately usher out their plan. Let’s not forget that DraftKings has already partnered with one of New Jersey’s top casinos in order to capitalize on this new sports betting market. Could we see DraftKings expand to Delaware?

This is an exciting time for Delaware and sports bettors living in the state. We’ll keep an eye on how things develop over the next few months.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

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