3 Legal Sports Books Opened in Delaware – Are they Any Good?


After the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies over the Chicago Cubs, the bet indicated the start of a new era in American sports gambling.
Governor John Carney’s flier about the Phillies managed to create a $20 profit also, after the (+200) underdogs were able to upset the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet positioned at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was quickly followed by many bigger tickets bought by more serious bettors, including a series of 500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
All in all, across the state’s three racetrack / casino places — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — collected $322,135 at wagers on the first day of business. That amount comes straight from Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping get Delaware’s sports gambling business ready to go.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have been able to partly bet on sports for many decades, but merely on”parlay cards” according to National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards required several winners to be connected together, and the only tickets that cashed were those who revealed all winners.
Conventional single-game or fixed-odds sports gambling, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, wasn’t available in 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 prohibited everywhere but the Silver State.
That all changed on May 14, but when the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark 6-3 ruling in a case known as Murphy v. NCAA. This case originated in New Jersey, following the Garden State made repeated attempts to pass its own sports betting laws and regulations. After being sued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Together with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, New Jersey’s final appeal to the Supreme Court wound up in the winning column.
Whenever the Court ruled that PASPA violated the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution — that grants states the right to pass their own legislation absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down once and for all.
What followed that decision three weeks ago was a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey racing to put the final touches on its own statewide regulations.
But while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts in Delaware had legal frameworks in place thanks to their parlay card operation. Called the First State for a reason, Delaware moved fast to become the first state out Nevada to accept legal sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney described the sports betting launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it is actually an enhancement of our tourism industry.
It will attract a great deal of visitors to our state, particularly at this time of year, during the summer, coming to our lovely beaches south of here.
They come here and stop in the casinos and also do slot machines and table gambling. This will be an additional chance for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware since the Northeast’s latest sports betting destination when talking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this industry doesn’t last quite long.
We’re happy to be first today.
I really don’t expect we’ll be the just one quite long, but now it feels very good to be original.”
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Carney’s historic first wager was placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but the country is home to two more racetrack / casinos using in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks in Atlantic City go live — that should be any minute now — Delaware stands out as the only spot for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. Bearing that in mind, bettors will be flocking to those casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started on your sports betting journey, I have gone ahead and seen all the 3 sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you will find honest and objective reviews of each facility, together with need to know information such as the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centers.
Check out my reviews of those three sportsbook venues now working in Delaware to make a more informed decision with your gambling buck:
Delaware Park Racetrack
Address: 777 Delaware Park Blvd, Wilmington, DE 19804
Telephone: -LRB-302-RRB-??994-2521
Distance from Philadelphia:41 miles
Distance from Baltimore:69 miles
Distance from New York: 122 miles
Distance from Boston:355 miles
Situated in the very northernmost point of this state, in the city of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your very conveniently accessible venue for people in New York and New England.
It is also the most appealing of the trio, the casino centre nestled near the banks of the Delaware River along a grassy green hill. From the outside, Delaware Park appears to be just another stately three-story property, but once you step foot in you will feel like you have walked onto 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 typical rural racetrack.
When you discover the sportsbook places — which are located in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you’ll be greeted by an array of brightly colored miniature lightbulbs displaying the day’s lines and odds. These betting boards was cutting edge in vegas about 10 years back, but Sin City has phased out them in favor of high-definition tv screens instead.
However, you know what they say about a person’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is pleased to have the gambling boards onsite.
Just ask William Fasy, that serves as president of Delaware Park. During a meeting with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for business, Fasy touted his place’s most prominent technological boom:
“These boards were purchased eight years ago, and they are no longer used in Vegas.
But they are the best boards in Delaware!”
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If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board the picture below will show you exactly what I’m talking about.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every game or bet is coded with a base amount (401, 402, etc., in the example picture above). When betting on 401 from the image above, you would be backing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. This (-10) figure refers to the point spread, therefore in this case, that the Vikings would be putting 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota without the spread, just search for the negative or positive amounts to the right of the point spread. These figures are known as the”moneyline,” and they reflect true odds on your bet. For the Vikings instance, you would be backing a big (-600) favorite, even though a bet on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your cash.
Each team or participant will have their own number, so you’d simply tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to put a c-note down on the Vikes.
Along with the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also put up a bank of self-service wagering kiosks. These were not up and running just yet when I visited the facility, but they looked like ATM machines in the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you’ll get the idea.
It is possible to wager for your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which offers daily action on Major League Baseball (MLB), and also the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, along with a ton of everyday golfing and tennis tournaments.
If you’re considering futures betting, take a shot at the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, or try and forecast that NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it clear in a round of meet and greets with the local press that Delaware Park will be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, every Kind of betting will probably be on the table, save you:
“I feel the only thing we’re not going to offer is’in sport’ wagering.
You’re going to have prop bets. You’re simply not going to have in sport prop bets happening.
And you’re going to have a truly mobile device.”
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The concept of in-game betting was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to put extra wagers even as the game is ongoing. Say your team falls right into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the opposite side provides valuable protection against upsets and unforeseen conditions.
While the in-game betting fad will not be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the emergence of mobile and internet wagering in the future.
Don’t forget, Delaware is one of only three states — along with Nevada and New Jersey — in which a legal and regulated online gaming industry has gone live. With internet casinos and poker rooms already hosted by the country’s three casino racetracks, it won’t be long till you can download the Delaware Park sportsbook app directly for your smartphone or mobile device.
When 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 haven — the team here are knowledgeable and considerate. Sure, a few hiccups could be seen concerning erroneous tickets and so on, such as my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins season win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by error.
However, those growing pains are to be expected for any new sportsbook. Because of this helpful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and then swap it for the Dolphins in a couple of minutes.
All in all, I can’t 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 first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos scattered across the Las Vegas desert.
Places like the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which combine sprawling hotel towers spanning a number of stories with classical architecture — that is what Dover Downs is going for.
And the illusion isn’t broken one piece when you walk through the doorways. Vaulted ceilings, fancy art, and marble floors all unite to turn the place into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This location includes conference halls, shopping outlets, and of course, a racetrack where NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the main entry and find the closest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab in the sportsbook. Just look for the large comfy chairs and massive projector displays overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook centre at Dover Downs appears to suggest a thriving enterprise place to capitalize on the demise of PASPA. And to be sure, the centre has expanded its offerings to include the complete complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
However during my time , the attention from staff and customers alike remained on horse racing. This makes sense I guess, what with the venue’s longstanding affiliation with the”Sport of Kings.”
I had been curious, but about the apparent lack of buzz concerning ordinary sports gambling, especially with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the time.
Just a little digging around told the narrative, as I found the following quote from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article published by theDelaware Public:
“It is wonderful to have. [But] at Nevada, in which they’ve had it for 50 decades, it merely represents about two percent of their earnings.
A good deal of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the earnings.
It’s not a massive take for the business.”
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Sutor was not the only Dover Downs executive that seemed to be lukewarm at best when it came to expanded 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 nation when speaking to Delaware Online:
“There’s a great deal of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there which does not have any basis in fact.People need to manage their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left after you pay off the winners are very little and you split it among many different people within this state.
When (surrounding states) get up and running, we are going to see a draining of individuals who are coming , just as we have observed in the normal casino industry and prior to this at the horse racing industry.”
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While a pragmatic business outlook certainly makes sense, particularly from an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I know Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By neglecting to embrace the full array of sports betting options open to Delaware, the venue risks being left in Delaware Park’s dust. And perhaps that’s already the case.
This past year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in earnings on its own parlay card games. From this figure, Delaware Park dominated the market with $1.2 million, almost 3 times that taken in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The absence of faith expressed by the higher-ups at Dover Downs appears to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks didn’t seem very educated when I asked about futures and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the kind excitement I felt back in Delaware Park.
And that’s a shame too, because from the outside in, this venue boasts the kind of conveniences every gambler enjoys.
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, DE 19952
Telephone: -LRB-302-RRB-??398-4920
Website: http://casino.harringtonraceway.com/sports-book
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.
But you’ll be forgiven for driving by the place without even noticing.
This casino is affixed to a little harness racing track, along with the entire grounds was built out 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 entertainment is afoot. It’s an interesting design choice to say the least, and things do not exactly improve when you go indoors.
If you’ve ever been to the old Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of”fabulous” Fremont Street — you then understand what to expect at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, and a normally sullen scene would be the defining features of this casino floor.
Fortunately for bettors, the sportsbook place does offer a bit of improvement — but only barely. Matters fell more straightforward in there, however, the set up of private cubicles with connected TV monitors — standard for racebooks — is not exactly inviting. The projector displays overhead are big and bright however, so I’ll give them that far.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly about the legalization of sports gambling. Whether that speaks to a companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing over the sportsbook is not to me to say — but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Due to the track’s standing as a severe harness racing centre, the sportsbook is usually crowded before scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports only, make sure you catch a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will start stacking up.
A wonderful byproduct of the place’s serious approach to horse racing is the employees are prepared and ready to roll. I had to correct a few ticket writers from time to time at both of the other sportsbooks, but the people at Harrington batted 1.000 in relation to precision.
In general, the experience surpassed what I would’ve expected when I saw the building, which is likely the reason why they say to never judge a book by it’s cover.
Depending on where you call home, among the 3 venues listed above are the most suitable based solely on proximity. That’s probably reason enough to select a favorite, but since Delaware is a small state, you can hit all three inside a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In terms of my tour of the nation’s sportsbooks, I preferred Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in this order.
Delaware Park benefits from the excitement of its leadership, as Fasy attracts a genuine interest in the sports gambling industry to the table. His staff are genuinely eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, which goes a long way in my book. When the very first online sportsbooks go live in the First State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to look at, but the place knows how to conduct a racebook. The staff can answer questions and guide you through the process easily. Whether this victory goes to sports betting remains to be seen, but I have a feeling severe bettors can call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings on the problem are simple — if the people in control don’t enjoy sports gambling, they won’t enjoy sports bettors . Until I hear word about a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I just wouldn’t expect that the mistakes and malaise here to be solved anytime soon.

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