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

When the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies within the Chicago Cubs, the wager signaled the start of a new age in American sports gambling.
Governor John Carney’s flier on the Phillies even managed to create a $20 profit too, following the (+200) underdogs managed to upset that the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet positioned at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was followed by many bigger tickets purchased by more severe bettors, such as a series of 500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
All in all, across the country’s three racetrack / casino venues — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — collected $322,135 at wagers on the first day of business. That number comes directly from Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping get Delaware’s sports gambling business up and running.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have been able to partially bet on sports for many decades, but merely on”parlay cards” according to National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards demanded many winners to be connected together, and the only tickets which cashed were those who showed all winners.
Traditional single-game or fixed-odds sports betting, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, was not accessible Delaware — or some other American state aside from Nevada for that issue. Under a federal law called the skilled 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 called Murphy v. NCAA. This case originated in New Jersey, following the Garden State made repeated attempts to pass its sports gambling 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 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 laws absent Congressional action — PASPA was struck down for good.
What followed that decision three months ago was a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey racing to put the last touches on its own statewide regulations.
But while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts from Delaware had legal frameworks set up as a result of their parlay card surgery. Known as the First State for a reason, Delaware moved fast to become the first state outside of Nevada to accept lawful sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney described the sports gambling launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it is actually an improvement of our tourism industry.
It will attract a great deal of traffic to our nation, especially at this time of year, during summer time, coming to our beautiful beaches south of this.
They are here and stop at the casinos and also do slot machines and table gaming. This will be an additional chance for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware since the Northeast’s newest sports gambling destination when speaking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this industry does not last very long.
We are delighted to be first now.
I really don’t expect we will be the only one very long, but today it seems really good to be original.”
(Quotation link)
Carney’s historic first bet was placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but the state is home to 2 more 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. With that in mind, bettors will be flocking to these casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started in your sports gambling journey, I have gone ahead and seen each of the three sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you will find honest and objective reviews of each centre, together with have to know information like the address, contact number, website, and distances from regional population centers.
Check out my reviews of the 3 sportsbook venues now working in Delaware to make a more educated 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
Located in the very northernmost point of the country, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your most conveniently accessible venue for people in New York and New England.
It is also the most appealing of this trio, the casino centre nestled close to the banks of the Delaware River along a grassy green mountain. In the exterior, Delaware Park seems to be just another stately three-story property, but as soon as you step foot inside you’ll feel as if you have 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 compared to typical rural racetrack.
When you discover the sportsbook areas — which are located in the clubhouses around the 1st and 3rd floors — you will be greeted by an array of brightly colored miniature lightbulbs exhibiting the day’s lines and odds. These betting boards was cutting edge in Las Vegas about a decade ago, but Sin City has phased out them in favor of high-definition tv displays instead.
But you know what they say about one person’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is pleased to have the betting boards onsite.
Just ask William Fasy, who serves as president of Delaware Park. During a meeting with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his venue’s most prominent technological boom:
“These boards were bought eight decades ago, and they’re no longer used in Vegas.
But they are the best boards in Delaware!”
(Quote link)
If you’re unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board the image below will show you what I am discussing.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, each game or bet is coded using a base number (401, 402, etc., in the example picture above). When gambling on 401 in the image above, you’d be financing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. That (-10) figure denotes the point spread, so in this scenario, that the Vikings would be putting 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota with no spread, just search for the positive or negative numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are called the”moneyline,” plus they represent true chances on your wager. For the Vikings instance, you would be financing a large (-600) favorite, even though a wager on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) in your money.
Each team or participant will get their own number, so you’d simply tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to put a c-note back on the Vikes.
In addition to the fancy betting boards, Delaware Park has also put up a bank of self-service wagering kiosks. These weren’t up and running just yet when I visited the facility, but they seemed like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you’ll find the idea.
You can wager to your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which provides daily action on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, and a ton of daily golf clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you are interested in futures betting, have a shot in the forthcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or try and forecast which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it clear in a form of meet and greets with the local media that Delaware Park would be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, each form of gambling will probably be on the table, save one:
“I feel the only thing we are not likely to offer is’in sport’ wagering.
You are going to have prop bets. You’re simply not going to have in game prop bets happening.
And you’re going to have a mobile device.”
(Quotation link)
The notion of in-game gambling was popularized by online sportsbooks, with players able to put extra wagers even as the game is continuing. Say your team falls right into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game wager on the other side offers valuable protection against upsets and unexpected circumstances.
While the in-game gambling fad won’t be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the emergence of mobile and online wagering in the future.
Don’t overlook, Delaware is one of only three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — in which a legal and regulated online gaming business has gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the state’s three casino / racetracks, it will not be long till you can download the Delaware Park sportsbook app straight to your smartphone or mobile device.
When it comes to customer service, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under advice from Fasy — who’s clearly enthusiastic about turning the place into a sports bettor’s harbor — the team here are educated and considerate. Sure, a couple hiccups could be observed concerning incorrect tickets and so on, such as my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins season win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by mistake.
However, those growing pains are to be expected for any new sportsbook. Because of this useful attendants, I was able to cancel the Marlins ticket and swap it to the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
All in all, I can not suggest Delaware Park enough, based both on the place’s modern feel and Fasy’s clear dedication to producing the nation’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 unite sprawling hotel towers crossing several stories with classical design — that is what Dover Downs is going for.
And the illusion isn’t broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy art, and marble flooring all unite to turn the place into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This location has conference halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, a racetrack where NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the main entry and locate the closest bar off to the side, and you will be smack dab at the sportsbook. Just look for the big comfy chairs and enormous projector displays overhead, and you’re there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs seems to indicate a flourishing enterprise set 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.
However during my time , the focus from staff and clients alike stayed on horse racing. That makes sense I guess, what with the place’s longstanding affiliation with the”Sport of Kings.”
I was curious, but about the apparent absence of buzz concerning ordinary sports betting, especially with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the moment.
Just 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 is wonderful to have. [However ] at Nevada, where they’ve had it for 50 decades, it merely represents about two percent of the revenues.
A lot of people are mistaking the amounts bet as the revenue.
It’s not a huge take for the business.”
(Quotation link)
Sutor was not the only Dover Downs executive who appeared 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 betting would be an economic boon for the state when talking to Delaware Online:
“There is a lot of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there which doesn’t have any foundation in fact.People need to manage their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left after you pay off the winners are extremely little and you split it among many different people within this state.
When (surrounding states) get up and running, we are going to observe a draining of individuals who are coming , as we have seen from the normal casino industry and before that in the horse racing business.”
(Quote link)
While a pragmatic company standpoint certainly is reasonable, particularly by an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I understand Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to embrace the full spectrum of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the place risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And perhaps that is already true.
This past year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in revenue on its own parlay card games. From this figure, Delaware Park dominated the market with $1.2 million, almost 3 times that obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack of faith expressed from the higher-ups in Dover Downs appears to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks did not seem very informed when I asked about futures and unless you’re wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the type excitement I felt back at Delaware Park.
And that is a shame too, because from the outside in, this venue boasts the type of conveniences every gambler enjoys.
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, DE 19952
Phone: -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.
However, you’ll be forgiven for driving right by the location without even noticing.
This casino has been affixed to a little harness racing track, and the whole 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 entertainment is afoot. It is an interesting design choice to say the very least, and things don’t exactly improve when you go inside.
If you have ever been into the old 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 would be 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, but the setup of personal cubicles with connected TV monitors — typical for racebooks — is not exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are big and bright however, so I will give them that much.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly about the legalization of sports betting. Whether that speaks to a companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing across the sportsbook isn’t to me to say but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Because of the monitor’s status as a severe harness racing facility, the sportsbook is usually crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports only, be sure to grab a copy of the daily racing form to observe when the lines will begin stacking up.
A nice byproduct of the venue’s serious approach to horse racing is that the staff are prepared and ready to roll. I had to correct a few ticket authors from time to time in both of the other sportsbooks, but the folks at 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 never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Depending on where you call home, among the three places listed above will be the most suitable based solely on closeness. That is probably reason enough to select a favorite, but because Delaware is a small country, it is possible to hit all three within a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In regard to my tour of the state’s sportsbooks, I preferred Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in that order.
Delaware Park benefits from the enthusiasm of its direction, as Fasy attracts a genuine interest in the sports betting industry to the table. His staff are really eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, and that goes a long way in my own book. When the very first online sportsbooks go live in the very first State, I’ll bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to look at, but the venue 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, however I’ve a feeling severe bettors will call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings about the situation are simple — if the people in charge don’t enjoy sports betting, they won’t enjoy sports bettors either. Until I hear word about a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I just wouldn’t expect the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.

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