Happy Anniversary! Delaware Sports Betting a Winner One Month InBy Jill R. Dorson | Published: July 5, 2018 at 9:53 am
One bettor placed a combined $100,000 on college football. A $1 million “profit” has been made. And about $7 million has been bet.
Yep, Delaware has hit it big.
Today marks the one-month anniversary of legal sports betting in the state and Delaware Lottery Games director Vernon Kirk couldn’t be happier.
Delaware Sports Betting Bringing in More Than Expected With Most Bets Placed on Baseball.
“It’s obviously pretty exciting, but we’re doing well,” he told Sports Handle. “Maybe even a little bit better than the percentages that we expected.”
Not a bad deal for the first state outside of Nevada to accept full-fledged legal sports bets since the United States Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on May 14.
The state’s fiscal numbers were due on June 24, according to Kirk. And those numbers revealed that bettors in Delaware had placed approximately $7 million in bets with $6 million paid out to winners, and a $1 million in revenue to cover the likes of vendor fees, computer fees, risk management, commissions to the racetracks, a purse increase and the state’s share.
The numbers also showed that the lion’s share of bets were placed on baseball – approximately $6 million, according to Kirk, including the first bet ever laid down in the state, a $10 wager on the Philadelphia Phillies by governor John Carney on June 5 on the hometown Philadelphia Phillies. There were also a few surprises – about $35,000 was wagered on mixed martial arts, a handful of college softball bets were placed and what Kirk described as a “surprising” amount of wagers were laid down on the World Cup.
The numbers represent 19 days of sports betting, from June 5-24. And Kirk was quick to point out that he’s quoting cash numbers, as opposed to the graded figures generally quoted in Nevada. As an example, he said, when Delaware takes a futures bet, the state counts it immediately where a Las Vegas casino would not.
Delaware Park Took Booked $100,000 in Tickets From a Single Bettor
The most significant wager to date, Kirk said, was $100,000 in college football bets from a single bettor. The bets were placed at Delaware Park, and Kirk said the bettors put down the six-figure wager across multiple college football teams.
Delaware Park, located in Wilmington in the upper northern tip of the state, has done most of the sports betting business – about $5 million, according to Kirk. The casino’s proximity to Philadelphia (about a 35-minutes drive), the New Jersey border and Baltimore (just under 1 ½ hours driving) make it the most accessible casino in the country’s second-smallest state.
Kirk can’t point to any real hiccups during the first month of sports betting in the First State. The only real “glitch” may have been that casinos were a bit underprepared for the NBA Finals – the last two games of the Golden State Warriors’ 4-0 sweep – were June 6 and 8.
“We had one brief moment when we were overwhelmed on the second day,” he said. “There was a pro basketball game and Delaware Park was a little unprepared for the volume. Otherwise, I can say that we were ready.”
Having too much business and too many people, is, of course, a good problem to have. And one that Kirk is sure will be resolved before the start of college football season in August. But he feels very strongly that Delaware was uber prepared for its moment because prior to PASPA being struck down, the state offered parlay football betting, and in 2009 was prepared to offer single-game sports betting before the courts denied it the opportunity.
“To be fair, we had an advantage,” Kirk said. “We’d been doing this for years with parlay cards. We had the infrastructure in place, so we just had to dust off the software, retrain the ticket writers at the casinos and that all went very smoothly.”
DE Lottery Still Mulling In-Person vs. Remote Deposits for Mobile Sports Betting
The state hasn’t introduced mobile betting yet, so that wasn’t a factor through the first month. Kirk’s hope is to get mobile up and running by football season. State law says that mobile betting will be limited to in-state, and mobile bettors will have to register with a casino. Whether they will have to do that in person or not is as yet undecided.
Looking forward, football season will be the ultimate challenge, and not just in terms of volume. Delaware has long offered parlay cards, but now that single-game wagering has been introduced, it will change where people place their bets. That could potentially hurt small vendors who, in the past had handled parlay cards, but will likely see a dip in business as bettors place single-game wagers at casinos.
“We may see our retailers take a hit on parlay card sales, but that can’t be helped,” Kirk said. “The casinos are much better prepared to take single-game betting and they’re better equipped to monitor” sports betting.
“I’m a little concerned about what it’s going to be like with the football. It’s going to be a whole other thing … there are going to be some very busy Saturdays and Sundays, but we’re aware of that … and we think we’re taking the right steps to make that manageable. But you know, the best laid plans of mice and men. If there are some snaggles, we should be able to sort them out.”