After the Governor of Delaware plunked down $10 on June 5 to back his beloved Philadelphia Phillies over the Chicago Cubs, the wager indicated 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 were able to upset that the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet positioned at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was quickly followed by several bigger tickets purchased by more severe bettors, such as a series of $500 baseball bets placed by local ace 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 in wagers on the first day of business. That number comes directly from Delaware Lottery manager Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping get Delaware’s sports betting business ready to go.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have managed to partially bet on sports for several decades, but merely on”parlay cards” based on National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards demanded many winners to be linked together, and the only tickets which cashed were those that showed all winners.
Traditional single-game or fixed-odds sports betting, a la what you find in a Las Vegas sportsbook, wasn’t accessible Delaware — or some other American state other than Nevada for that matter. Under a federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports betting 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 ruling in a case called Murphy v. NCAA. That case originated in New Jersey, after 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 at the winning column.
When the Court ruled that PASPA violated the 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution — that grants states the right to pass their own laws absent Congressional action — PASPA was officially struck down once and for all.
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.
But while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts from Delaware already had legal frameworks in place thanks to their parlay card operation. Called the First State for a motive, Delaware moved quickly to become the first nation outside of Nevada to take lawful sports wagers.
Here is how Governor Carney explained the sports betting launching in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it is actually an improvement of our tourism industry.
It’ll attract a great deal of traffic to our state, especially at this time of year, during the summer, coming to our beautiful beaches south of this.
They are here and stop in the casinos and do slot machines and table gaming. This will be another opportunity 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 doesn’t last very long.
We’re happy to be first now.
I really don’t expect we will be the only one quite long, but now it feels very good to be original.”
Carney’s historical first bet was placed at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but the country is home to 2 more racetrack / casinos with in-house sportsbooks: Delaware Park Racetrack and Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Until the sportsbooks at Atlantic City go live — which should be any moment now — Delaware stands out as the sole place 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 betting journey, I’ve gone ahead and seen all the 3 sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll discover honest and objective reviews of each centre, together with have to know information such as the address, contact number, site, 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
Situated in the very northernmost point of the country, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is your most conveniently available venue for people in New York and New England.
It’s also the most appealing of the trio, the casino facility nestled close to 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 in you will feel as if you’ve walked onto the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and gold trimming, this place is more like the Golden Nugget compared to typical rural racetrack.
When you find the sportsbook places — that are situated in the clubhouses around 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 gambling boards was cutting edge in vegas about 10 years back, however Sin City has phased them out in favour of high-definition television displays instead.
But you know what they say about one person’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is happy to have the gambling boards onsite.
Just ask William Fasy, that serves as president of Delaware Park. During an interview with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his place’s most prominent technological boom:
“These planks were bought eight decades ago, and they’re no longer employed in Vegas.
But they’re the top boards in Delaware!”
If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board the picture below will show you what I am discussing.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, every game or wager 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 denotes the point spread, so in this scenario, that the Vikings will be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wanted to take Minnesota without the spread, just search for the positive or negative amounts to the right of the point spread. These figures are called the”moneyline,” and they represent true chances on your wager. For the Vikings example, you’d be backing a big (-600) favorite, even though a wager on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your money.
Each team or participant will have their own number, so you would just tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to put a c-note back on the Vikes.
Along with the fancy gaming planks, Delaware Park has also set up a bank of self-service wagering kiosks. These weren’t up and running just yet when I visited the centre, but they seemed like ATM machines from the early 1990s. Think a boxy framework, small screen, and no-nonsense interface and you’ll find 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, and a ton of daily golf clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you are considering futures betting, take a shot in the forthcoming 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, or attempt to forecast which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it apparent in a round of meet and greets with the regional press that Delaware Park will be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, every form of betting will probably be on the table, save you:
“I feel the only thing we are not going to offer is’in game’ wagering.
You are going to have prop bets. You are simply not likely to have in sport prop bets going on.
And you’re going to have a truly mobile device.”
The concept of in-game betting was popularized by online sportsbooks, with gamers able to put additional wagers even as the match is ongoing. Say your group falls right into an early hole, and you’re keen on balancing the ledger. Placing an in-game wager on the other side provides valuable protection against upsets and unforeseen conditions.
While the in-game gambling fad won’t be coming to Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the development of mobile and online wagering down the road.
Don’t forget, Delaware is one of just three states — along with Nevada and New Jersey — where a legal and regulated online gambling industry has already gone live. With online casinos and poker rooms already hosted by the state’s three casino racetracks, it won’t be long till it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook app directly for your smartphone or mobile device.
If it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under advice from Fasy — who is obviously enthused about turning the place into a sports bettor’s harbor — the team here are educated and courteous. Sure, a few hiccups could be observed in terms of erroneous tickets and the like, such as my futures bet on the Miami Dolphins season 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 helpful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and exchange it for the Dolphins in a matter of minutes.
Overall, I can not recommend Delaware Park enough, based both on the place’s contemporary 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 on Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, my very first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos sprinkled 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’s what Dover Downs is going for.
And the illusion is not broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy art, and marble floors all unite to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This place has conference halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, a racetrack where NASCAR events are hosted each year.
Head through the main entrance and locate the closest bar off to the side, and you will be smack dab at the sportsbook. Just search 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 suggest a flourishing enterprise set to capitalize on the demise 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 there, the focus from staff and clients alike remained on horse racing. This makes sense I suppose, what with the place’s longstanding affiliation with the”Sport of Kings.”
I was curious, however, about the apparent absence of buzz regarding ordinary sports gambling, particularly with the NBA and NHL Finals going on at the time.
A little digging around told the narrative, like I found the following quote from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor in an article published by theDelaware Public:
“It is wonderful to have. [However ] in Nevada, in which they have had it for 50 years, it only represents about two percent of the earnings.
A good deal of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the revenue.
It’s not a massive take for the industry.”
Sutor wasn’t the only Dover Downs executive that appeared to be lukewarm at best as 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 is a lot of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there that doesn’t have some basis in fact.People have to control their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left after you pay back the winners are very little and you split it among a variety of people in this state.
When (surrounding countries ) get up and running, we are just going to see a draining of people that are coming here, as we have seen in the regular casino industry and prior to that at the horse racing business.”
While a pragmatic business standpoint certainly is reasonable, particularly from an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I know Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By neglecting to adopt the entire array of sports betting options now open to Delaware, the venue risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And maybe that is already true.
This past year the state of Delaware accumulated $1.9 million in earnings on its parlay card games. From that figure, Delaware Park dominated the marketplace with $1.2 million, almost 3 times that obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack of faith expressed from the higher-ups at Dover Downs appears to have trickled down to the staff level. Clerks did not seem very educated when I asked about futures and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody voiced the type excitement I felt back at Delaware Park.
And that’s a shame too, because from the outside in, this site boasts the kind 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, just an hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
However, you’ll be forgiven for driving by the place without even noticing.
This casino has been 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, and not 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 enhance when you go indoors.
If you have ever been into 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, along with a normally sullen scene are the defining characteristics of the casino floor.
Fortunately for bettors, the sportsbook area does provide a bit of improvement — but only barely. Things fell more straightforward in there, but the set up of personal cubicles with connected TV monitors — standard for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are large and bright though, so I will give them that far.
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 is not to me to say — but Key remaining tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Because of the monitor’s standing as a severe harness racing centre, the sportsbook is usually crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you are there for sports just, make sure you grab a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will start piling up.
A nice byproduct of this venue’s serious approach to horse racing is that the employees are ready and ready to roll. I needed to fix a few ticket writers from time to time in both of the other sportsbooks, but the people at Harrington batted 1.000 in terms of accuracy.
In general, the experience surpassed what I would have expected when I saw the construction, which is probably the reason why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on the place you call home, among the three venues listed above are the most convenient based solely on proximity. That is probably reason enough to select a favorite, but because Delaware is a small country, it is possible to hit all three inside 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 excitement of its direction, as Fasy brings a genuine interest in the sports gambling business to the table. His team are really eager to assist new bettors learn the principles, which goes a long way in my own book. When the first online sportsbooks go reside in the very first State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the series.
Harrington Raceway may 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 easily. Whether that success goes to sports gambling remains to be seen, however I have a sense severe bettors will call this place home.
In terms of Dover Downs, my feelings on the situation are simple — when the people in control do not enjoy sports betting, they wont enjoy sports bettors either. Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I just wouldn’t expect that the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.
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