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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 within the Chicago Cubs, the bet indicated the beginning of a new era in American sports gambling.
Governor John Carney’s flier on the Phillies managed to produce a $20 profit also, following 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 purchased by more serious bettors, including a string 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 — collected $322,135 in wagers on the first day of business. That number comes directly from Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping to get Delaware’s sports gambling industry up and running.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have managed to partially bet on sports for several decades, but merely on”parlay cards” according to National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards required many winners to be linked together, and the only tickets which cashed were those that showed 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 skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports betting was prohibited 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. This case originated in New Jersey, following the Garden State made continued efforts 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 in the winning column.
Whenever 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 has been a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey rushing to put the final touches on its statewide regulations.
But while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts in Delaware had legal frameworks in place as a result of their parlay card surgery. Known as the First State for a motive, Delaware went quickly to become the first state out Nevada to accept legal sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney explained the sports gambling launching in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it is actually an improvement of our tourism industry.
It’ll attract a lot of traffic to our nation, particularly in this time of year, throughout summer time, coming to our lovely beaches south of this.
They are here and stop at the casinos and also do slot machine and table gambling. This will be an additional opportunity for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware since the Northeast’s newest sports betting destination when talking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this business does not last very long.
We’re delighted to be first now.
I don’t expect we’ll be the just one quite long, but now it seems very good to be original.”
(Quote link)
Carney’s historic first bet was set at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but the country is home to two racetrack / casinos with in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks in Atlantic City go live — which should be any minute now — Delaware stands out as the only place 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’ve gone ahead and visited all the 3 sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll find objective and honest reviews of each centre, along with need to know information like the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centers.
So check out my reviews of the 3 sportsbook places now working in Delaware to create a more informed decision with your betting buck:
Delaware Park Racetrack
Address: 777 Delaware Park Blvd, Wilmington, DE 19804
Phone: -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 the country, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your most conveniently accessible venue for folks in New York and New England.
It’s also the most appealing of this trio, the casino centre nestled near the banks of the Delaware River and also a grassy green mountain. In the outside, Delaware Park appears 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 trimming, this place is much more like the Golden Nugget than your average rural racetrack.
When you discover the sportsbook places — that are located in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you’ll be greeted by an array of brightly colored tiny lightbulbs displaying the day’s lines and odds. These gambling boards was cutting edge in vegas about 10 years back, but Sin City has phased out them in favour of high-definition television displays instead.
However, you know what they say about one person’s trash being another’s treasure, so Delaware Park is happy to have the betting boards on site.
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 place’s most prominent technological flourish:
“These boards were bought eight decades ago, and they are no longer used anymore in Vegas.
But they’re the top boards in Delaware!”
(Quotation link)
If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook gaming enthusiast the image below will show you what I’m discussing.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every 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) over the Los Angeles Rams. This (-10) figure denotes the point spread, so in this case, 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 numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are called the”moneyline,” and they reflect true odds on your wager. For the Vikings instance, you would be financing a big (-600) preferred, even though a wager on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) in your money.
Each team or participant will have their own number, so you’d simply tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to place a c-note down on the Vikes.
Along with the fancy betting boards, 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 facility, but they looked like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy frame, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you will get the idea.
You can bet to your heart’s content at Delaware Park, which provides daily actions on Major League Baseball (MLB), and also the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, along with a slew of daily golfing clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you are interested in futures betting, have a shot in the forthcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or attempt to predict which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it apparent 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, every form of gambling will probably be on the table, save one:
“I think the only thing we are not likely to offer is’in game’ wagering.
You are likely to have prop bets. You are simply not likely to have in sport prop bets going on.
And eventually you’re going to have a mobile device.”
(Quote link)
The concept of in-game betting was popularized by online sportsbooks, with gamers able to put additional wagers even as the game is ongoing. Say your team drops right into an early hole, and you’re keen on balancing the ledger. Placing an in-game bet on the other side offers valuable protection against upsets and unexpected conditions.
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 in the future.
Do not forget, Delaware is one of just three states — along with Nevada and New Jersey — where a legal and regulated online gambling business has already gone live. With internet casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the state’s three casino racetracks, it will not be long until it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook program directly for your smartphone or cellular device.
When it comes to customer service, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under guidance from Fasy — who is clearly enthused about turning the area into a sports bettor’s harbor — the staff here are educated and courteous. Sure, a couple hiccups could be seen concerning incorrect tickets and so on, such as my futures wager on the Miami Dolphins year win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by mistake.
But those growing pains should be expected for any new sportsbook. Thanks to the useful attendants, I was able to cancel the Marlins ticket and then swap it for the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
Overall, I can’t recommend Delaware Park enough, based both on the venue’s modern sense and Fasy’s clear dedication to producing 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 those glittering Off-Strip casinos scattered throughout the Las Vegas desert.
Places such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers crossing several stories with classical design — that is what Dover Downs is about for.
And the illusion isn’t broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy art, and marble flooring all combine to turn the area 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 each year.
Head through the primary entrance 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 massive projector screens overhead, and you’re there.
At first glance, the sportsbook centre at Dover Downs seems to suggest a flourishing enterprise set to capitalize on the passing of PASPA. And to be sure, the facility 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 clients alike remained on horse racing. That makes sense I guess, what with the place’s longstanding association with the”Sport of Kings.”
I had been curious, but about the apparent lack of buzz concerning ordinary sports betting, especially with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the moment.
A little digging around advised the narrative, like I found the following quote from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor in an article printed by theDelaware Public:
“It’s wonderful to have. [However ] in Nevada, where they have had it for 50 years, it merely represents about two percent of their earnings.
A good deal of people are mistaking the amounts bet as the revenue.
It’s not a massive take for the business.”
(Quote link)
Sutor was not the sole Dover Downs executive that appeared to be lukewarm at best as it came to enlarged sportsbooks in the state:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the idea that sports gambling are an economic boon for the state when talking to Delaware Online:
“There’s a lot 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 over after you pay off the winners are very little and you split it among many different people within this nation.
When (surrounding states) get up and running, we’re just going to observe a draining of individuals that are coming here, just as we have observed in the regular casino business and prior to that at the horse racing industry.”
(Quotation link)
While a pragmatic business standpoint certainly makes sense, especially by an operator’s perspective, I’m not sure I know Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to adopt the entire spectrum of sports betting options open to Delaware, the place risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that’s already true.
Last year the state of Delaware collected $1.9 million in revenue on its own parlay card games. From that figure, Delaware Park dominated the market with $1.2 million, nearly three times that taken in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack 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 betting, and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the type excitement I felt back at Delaware Park.
And that is a pity too, because from the outside , this site boasts the type of amenities every gambler enjoys.
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, DE 19952
Telephone: -LRB-302-RRB-??398-4920
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 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, and not much adorns it to imply gambling and amusement is afoot. It’s an interesting design choice to say the least, and things don’t exactly enhance when you head indoors.
If you’ve ever been into the older Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of”fabulous” Fremont Street — you then know what to anticipate at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, along with a normally sullen scene would be the defining characteristics of this casino floor.
Fortunately for bettors, the sportsbook place does provide a little bit of improvement — but just barely. Matters fell nicer in there, but the set up of private cubicles with connected TV monitors — standard for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector displays overhead are big and bright though, so I will give them that much.
Interestingly enough, Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly about the legalization of sport betting. Whether this speaks to a companywide philosophy highlighting horse racing over the sportsbook isn’t for me to say but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty interesting.
Due to the track’s status as a severe harness racing centre, the sportsbook is generally crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you are 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 this place’s serious approach to horse racing is that the staff are prepared and ready to roll. I had to correct a couple of ticket writers from time to time at both of the other sportsbooks, but the people in Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of accuracy.
Overall, the experience surpassed what I would’ve anticipated when I first saw the building, which is likely why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on the place you call home, among the 3 places listed above will be the most convenient based solely on closeness. That is probably reason enough to select a favorite, but because Delaware is a small state, it is possible to hit all three within a weekend to see them up close and personal.
In regard to my own tour of the nation’s sportsbooks, I preferred Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in this order.
Delaware Park benefits from the enthusiasm of its leadership, as Fasy brings a genuine interest in the sports betting business to the table. His team are genuinely eager to help new bettors learn the ropes, which goes a long way in my own book. When the very first online sportsbooks go reside in the First State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway might not be much to check at, but the place knows how to run a racebook. The staff can answer questions and lead you through the process with ease. Whether this success goes to sports gambling remains to be seen, however I’ve a feeling serious bettors will call this place home.
In terms of Dover Downs, my feelings on the situation are simple — if the people in charge don’t enjoy sports gambling, they wont enjoy sports bettors either. Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of command, I simply wouldn’t expect the mistakes and malaise here to be solved anytime soon.

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