When the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies over the Chicago Cubs, the bet signaled the start of a new age in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier about the Phillies managed to create a $20 profit also, following the (+200) underdogs managed to upset that the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet positioned at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was followed by several bigger tickets purchased by more serious bettors, such as a series of 500 baseball bets placed by local ace Stu Feiner.
Overall, across the country’s three racetrack / casino places — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — accumulated $322,135 in wagers on the first day of business. That amount comes straight from Delaware Lottery manager Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory group helping to get Delaware’s sports gambling industry up and running.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have managed to partly bet on sports for many decades, but merely on”parlay cards” based on National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards demanded many winners to be linked together, and also the only tickets that cashed were those that revealed all winners.
Traditional single-game or fixed-odds sports gambling, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, was not accessible Delaware — or any American state other than Nevada for that matter. Under a federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports gambling was banned anywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, however, when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 judgment in a case known as Murphy v. NCAA. That case originated in New Jersey, following the Garden State made repeated attempts to pass its own sports gambling laws and regulations. After being sued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), along with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, New Jersey’s ultimate appeal to the Supreme Court wound up at the winning column.
When the Court ruled that PASPA violated the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which grants states the right to pass their own legislation absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down for good.
What followed the decision three weeks ago has been a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey racing to place the final touches on its own statewide regulations.
However, while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts in Delaware already had legal frameworks set up as a result of their parlay card surgery. Called the First State for a motive, Delaware moved quickly to become the first state outside Nevada to take lawful sports wagers.
Here’s how Governor Carney described the sports gambling launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it is actually an enhancement of our tourism market.
It’ll attract a great deal of traffic to our state, especially in this time of year, during summer time, coming to our beautiful beaches south of here.
They are here and stop in the casinos and also do slot machine and table gaming. This will be another opportunity for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware since the Northeast’s latest sports gambling destination when speaking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this business does not last quite long.
We are delighted to be first now.
I really don’t expect we will be the just one quite long, but today it seems very good to be first.”
Carney’s historical first bet was set at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, however, the country is home to 2 racetrack / casinos using in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks at Atlantic City go live — that should be any moment now — Delaware stands out as the sole spot for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. Bearing that in mind, bettors will be flocking to these casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started on your sports betting journey, I have gone ahead and seen each of the three sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you will find objective and honest reviews of each centre, along with have to know information such as the address, contact number, website, and distances from regional population centers.
So check out my reviews of the three sportsbook venues now working in Delaware to make a more educated decision with your betting buck:
Delaware Park Racetrack
Address: 777 Delaware Park Blvd, Wilmington, DE 19804
Distance from Philadelphia:41 miles
Distance from Baltimore:69 miles
Distance from New York: 122 miles
Distance from Boston:355 miles
Located at the very northernmost point of this state, in the city of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your very conveniently available venue for folks in New York and New England.
It is also the most attractive of this trio, the casino centre nestled close to the banks of the Delaware River and also a grassy green hill. In the outside, Delaware Park seems to be just another stately three-story estate, but once you step foot inside you will feel as if you’ve walked on the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and gold trim, this place is much similar to the Golden Nugget than your average rural racetrack.
When you discover the sportsbook areas — that are situated in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you will be greeted by an array of brightly colored tiny lightbulbs displaying the day’s lines and odds. These betting boards was cutting edge in Las Vegas about 10 years ago, however Sin City has phased out them in favour of high-definition tv displays instead.
But you know what they say about one man’s trash being another’s treasure, so Delaware Park is pleased to have the betting boards on site.
Just ask William Fasy, that serves as president of Delaware Park. During a meeting with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his place’s most prominent technological boom:
“These planks were bought eight years back, and they are no longer employed in Vegas.
But they’re the top boards in Delaware!”
If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board the image below will show you exactly what I’m discussing.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, each game or wager is coded with a base number (401, 402, etc. in the example image above). When gambling on 401 from the picture above, you’d be backing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. This (-10) figure denotes the point spread, therefore in this scenario, the Vikings would be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota without the spread, just search for the negative or positive numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are called the”moneyline,” and they reflect true odds on your bet. For the Vikings instance, you would be financing a large (-600) favorite, while a bet on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your money.
Each participant or team will have their own number, so you’d simply tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to place a c-note back on the Vikes.
In addition to the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also put up a bank of self employed wagering kiosks. These were not up and running just yet when I visited the centre, but they seemed like ATM machines in the early 1990s. Think a boxy frame, small screen, and no-nonsense interface and you will get the idea.
It is possible to bet to your heart’s content at Delaware Park, which provides daily actions on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, and a slew of everyday golfing and tennis tournaments.
If you are interested in futures betting, take a shot in the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, or attempt to predict which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this season.
Fasymade it apparent in a round of meet and greets with the regional media that Delaware Park will be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, each Kind of betting will probably be on the desk, save you:
“I think the only thing we are not going to provide is’in sport’ wagering.
You are likely to have prop bets. You’re just not going to have in sport prop bets going on.
And you’re going to have a mobile device.”
The concept of in-game gambling was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to put additional wagers even as the game is continuing. Say your group drops into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game wager on the opposite side offers valuable protection against upsets and unforeseen circumstances.
While the in-game betting fad will not be coming into Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and internet wagering down the road.
Do not overlook, Delaware is one of only three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — where a regulated and legal online gambling industry has already gone live. With internet casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the country’s three casino / racetracks, it won’t be long till it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook program straight to your smartphone or mobile device.
If it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under guidance from Fasy — who is obviously enthused about turning the area into a sports bettor’s harbor — the staff here are educated and courteous. Sure, a few hiccups could be seen concerning incorrect tickets and so on, for example my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins year win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by error.
But those growing pains are to be expected for any new sportsbook. Because of this helpful attendants, I was able to cancel the Marlins ticket and then swap it for the Dolphins in a couple of minutes.
Overall, I can not recommend Delaware Park enough, based equally on the place’s contemporary sense and Fasy’s clear dedication to creating the state’s best sportsbook.
Dover Downs Hotel and Casino
Address: 1131 North DuPont Highway; Dover, Delaware
Distance from Philadelphia: 78 miles
Distance from Baltimore:106 miles
Distance from New York: 165 miles
Distance from Boston: 388 miles
When I first laid eyes Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, my very first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos sprinkled throughout the Las Vegas desert.
Places such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers crossing a number of stories with classical architecture — that’s what Dover Downs is going for.
And the illusion is not broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy artwork, and marble floors all combine to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This place has conference halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, a racetrack in which NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the main entrance and locate the closest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab in the sportsbook. Just look for the large comfy chairs and enormous projector screens overhead, and you’re there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs appears to indicate a thriving enterprise place to capitalize on the passing of PASPA. And to be sure, the facility has expanded its offerings to include the full complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
But during my time , the focus from staff and clients alike stayed on horse racing. This makes sense I suppose, what with the place’s longstanding association with the”Sport of Kings.”
I had been curious, however, about the apparent lack of buzz regarding ordinary sports gambling, particularly with the NBA and NHL Finals going on in the moment.
A little digging around told the tale, as I found the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article published by theDelaware Public:
“It’s wonderful to have. [However ] in Nevada, in which they’ve had it for 50 decades, it only represents about two percent of the revenues.
A good deal of people are mistaking the amounts bet as the revenue.
It is not a huge take for the business.”
Sutor was not the only Dover Downs executive that seemed to be lukewarm at best when it came to enlarged sportsbooks in the nation:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the notion that sports gambling are an economic boon for the state when talking to Delaware Online:
“There’s a great deal of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there that doesn’t have some foundation in fact.People have to control their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left after you pay back the winners are extremely little and you divide it among many different people in this state.
When (surrounding states) wake up and running, we’re just going to observe a draining of individuals who are coming , as we have observed from the regular casino business and prior to this in the horse racing business.”
Even though a pragmatic business outlook certainly makes sense, especially from an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I understand Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to embrace the full array of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the venue risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that’s already true.
This past year the state of Delaware collected $1.9 million in revenue on its parlay card games. From this figure, Delaware Park dominated the marketplace with $1.2 million, nearly three times that taken in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The absence of faith expressed from the higher-ups at Dover Downs seems to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks didn’t seem very informed when I inquired about futures betting, and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody voiced the kind excitement I felt back in Delaware Park.
And that is a pity too, because from the outside in, this venue boasts the type of amenities every gambler appreciates.
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, DE 19952
Distance from Philadelphia:99 miles
Distance from Baltimore:87 miles
Distance from New York: 186 miles
Distance from Boston:409 miles
Harrington Raceway is located incentral Delaware, only one hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
However, you’re going to be forgiven for driving right by the place without ever even noticing.
This casino is affixed to a small harness racing track, and the entire grounds was built outside in the middle of nowhere.
The casino building’s exterior resembles that of non-denominational church, rather than much adorns it to suggest gambling and amusement is afoot. It’s an interesting design choice to say the least, and things do not exactly improve when you head indoors.
If you have ever been to the older Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of”fabulous” Fremont Street — you then understand what to anticipate at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, along with a generally sullen scene are the defining features of the casino floor.
Fortunately for bettors, the sportsbook place does offer a bit of improvement — but just barely. Things fell nicer in there, however, the set up of private cubicles with attached TV monitors — standard for racebooks — is not exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are large and bright however, so I’ll give them that much.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sport betting. Whether this speaks to a companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing over the sportsbook is not to me to say but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty interesting.
Because of the track’s standing as a serious harness racing centre, the sportsbook is usually crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports just, be sure to grab a copy of the daily racing form to observe when the lines will probably start piling up.
A wonderful byproduct of the place’s serious approach to horse racing is the staff are ready and ready to roll. I needed to correct a couple of ticket writers from time to time in the other two sportsbooks, but the folks in Harrington batted 1.000 in relation to accuracy.
In general, the experience surpassed that which I would have anticipated when I first saw the building, which is probably why they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on where you call home, one of the three venues listed above will be the most suitable based solely on closeness. That is probably reason enough to select a favorite, but since Delaware is a small state, you can hit all three inside a weekend to see them up close and personal.
In regard to my own tour of the state’s sportsbooks, I favored Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in that order.
Delaware Park benefits from the enthusiasm of its direction, as Fasy brings a real interest in the sports gambling business to the table. His team are genuinely eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, which goes a long way in my book. When the first online sportsbooks go live in the First State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the show.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to check at, but the venue knows how to conduct a racebook. The staff can answer questions and guide you through the process with ease. Whether this victory extends to sports gambling remains to be seen, but I have a feeling serious bettors will call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings on the situation are simple — when the people in charge do not enjoy sports gambling, they wont appreciate sports bettors either. Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of command, I simply wouldn’t anticipate that the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.
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