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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 over the Chicago Cubs, the wager signaled the beginning of a new era in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier on the Phillies managed to create a $20 profit too, after 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 bought by more severe bettors, such as a series of $500 baseball bets placed by local pro Stu Feiner.
Overall, across the country’s three racetrack / casino venues — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — accumulated $322,135 at 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 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” based on National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards required several winners to be connected together, and also the only tickets that cashed were those that revealed 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 skilled and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports gambling 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 ruling in a case called Murphy v. NCAA. That case originated in New Jersey, following the Garden State made continued efforts to pass its sports betting laws and regulations. After being sued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), along with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL, New Jersey’s ultimate appeal to the Supreme Court wound up at 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 legislation 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 in Delaware had legal frameworks set up thanks to their parlay card surgery. Known as the First State for a reason, Delaware moved quickly to become the first state out of Nevada to take lawful sports wagers.
Here’s how Governor Carney explained the sports betting launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
“For us, it’s actually an enhancement of our tourism market.
It will attract a great deal of visitors to our nation, particularly at this time of year, throughout the summer, coming into 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 another opportunity for them.”
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware as the Northeast’s latest sports betting destination when speaking to USA Today:
“Gloating in this business doesn’t last quite long.
We are happy to be first today.
I don’t expect we’ll be the just one quite long, but now it feels really good to be first.”
(Quote link)
Carney’s historic first bet was set at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, but the state is home to two 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 moment now — Delaware stands out as the sole 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 gambling journey, I’ve gone ahead and visited each of the three sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll find objective and honest reviews of each centre, together with need to know information like the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centres.
So check out my reviews of the 3 sportsbook venues now operating in Delaware to create a more educated 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 at the very northernmost point of the state, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is the most conveniently accessible venue for folks in New York and New England.
It is also the most attractive of this trio, the casino facility nestled close to the banks of the Delaware River along a grassy green mountain. In the outside, Delaware Park seems to be just another stately three-story estate, but once you step foot inside you will feel as if you have walked onto the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and golden trim, this place is similar to the Golden Nugget than your typical rural racetrack.
When you discover the sportsbook places — that are situated in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you will 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 them out in favor of high-definition television displays instead.
However, you know what they say about one person’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is happy to have the gambling boards on site.
Just ask William Fasy, who serves as president of Delaware Park. During an interview with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his venue’s most prominent technological flourish:
“These planks were purchased eight years ago, and they’re no longer used anymore in Vegas.
But they are the best boards in Delaware!”
(Quotation link)
If you’re unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board that the image below will show you exactly what I am 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 picture above). When gambling on 401 from the image above, you would be backing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) within the Los Angeles Rams. That (-10) figure refers to the point spread, therefore in this scenario, that the Vikings will be putting 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota with no spread, just look for the positive or negative numbers to the right of the point spread. These figures are known as the”moneyline,” plus they represent true chances on your bet. For the Vikings example, you would be financing a big (-600) favorite, even though a wager on the underdog Rams would provide (+400) in your cash.
Each participant or team will have their own number, so you would simply tell the clerk”$100 on 401moneyline please” to put a c-note down on the Vikes.
In addition to the fancy betting boards, Delaware Park has also set up a bank of self-service wagering kiosks. These were not 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 will get the idea.
You can bet 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 slew of daily golf clubs and tennis tournaments.
If you’re considering futures betting, take a shot in the upcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or attempt to predict that NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it apparent in a form of meet and greets with the local press that Delaware Park would be going”all in” on its sportsbook. According to him, each Kind of gambling will be on the table, save one:
“I feel the only thing we’re not going to provide is’in sport’ wagering.
You’re likely to have prop bets. You’re just not likely to have in sport prop bets happening.
And eventually you’re going to have a mobile device”
(Quotation link)
The notion of in-game betting 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’re keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the other side offers valuable protection against upsets and unforeseen conditions.
While the in-game betting 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 only three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — in which a regulated and legal online gaming industry has gone live. With internet casinos and poker rooms currently hosted by the country’s three casino racetracks, it will not be long till you can download the Delaware Park sportsbook app straight for your smartphone or mobile device.
When it comes to customer service, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under guidance from Fasy — who’s obviously enthusiastic about turning the area into a sports bettor’s haven — the team here are educated and courteous. Sure, a few hiccups could be observed concerning erroneous tickets and so on, for example my futures wager 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 was able to cancel the Marlins ticket and then swap it for the Dolphins in a couple of minutes.
Overall, I can not suggest Delaware Park enough, based equally on the venue’s contemporary sense and Fasy’s clear commitment 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 very first thought was of the glittering Off-Strip casinos sprinkled throughout the Las Vegas desert.
Places such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which combine sprawling hotel towers spanning a number of stories with classical design — that is what Dover Downs is going for.
And the illusion is not broken one piece when you walk through the doors. Vaulted ceilings, fancy artwork, and marble flooring all unite to turn the area into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This location includes conference halls, shopping outlets, and naturally, a racetrack in which NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the main entry and locate the closest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab at the sportsbook. Just search for the big comfy chairs and enormous projector displays overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs appears 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 full complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
However during my time there, the focus from staff and customers alike remained on horse racing. This makes sense I suppose, what with the venue’s longstanding affiliation with the”Sport of Kings.”
I was curious, but about the apparent absence of buzz regarding ordinary sports gambling, particularly with the NBA and NHL Finals going on in the time.
Just a little digging around advised the tale, like I found the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article printed by theDelaware Public:
“It is wonderful to have. [But] in Nevada, in which they’ve had it for 50 decades, it merely represents about two percent of the earnings.
A lot of people are mistaking the numbers bet as the revenue.
It’s not a massive take for the industry.”
(Quotation link)
Sutor was not the sole Dover Downs executive that 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 gambling are an economic boon for the state when talking to Delaware Online:
“There’s a great deal of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there that doesn’t have any foundation 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 a variety of people in this state.
When (surrounding countries ) wake up and running, we’re going to observe a draining of people that are coming here, as we’ve seen in the regular casino industry and before this at the horse racing industry.”
(Quotation link)
While a pragmatic company standpoint certainly is reasonable, particularly from an operator’s standpoint, I’m not sure I know Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to adopt the full spectrum of sports betting options open to Delaware, the venue risks being abandoned in Delaware Park’s dust. And perhaps that’s already the case.
Last year the state of Delaware collected $1.9 million in earnings on its own parlay card games. From that figure, Delaware Park dominated the market with $1.2 million, almost three times that obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The lack of faith expressed by the higher-ups in Dover Downs seems to have trickled down to the team level. Clerks did not seem very educated when I inquired about futures betting, and unless you’re wagering on the ponies, nobody expressed the kind excitement I felt back at Delaware Park.
And that’s a pity too, because from the outside in, this site boasts the kind 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, just an hour and a half from Baltimore and Philadelphia.
However, you’ll be forgiven for driving by the location without even noticing.
This casino is affixed to a little harness racing course, along with the whole grounds was built out 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 very least, and things don’t exactly improve when you go indoors.
If you have ever been to the old Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of”fabulous” Fremont Street — then you know what to anticipate at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, along with a normally sullen scene are the defining characteristics of the casino floor.
Luckily for bettors, the sportsbook area does provide a bit of improvement — but only barely. Things fell nicer in there, but the set up of private cubicles with attached TV monitors — standard for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector displays overhead are big and bright however, so I’ll give them that much.
Interestingly , Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly about the legalization of sport gambling. Whether this speaks to a companywide philosophy emphasizing horse racing across the sportsbook isn’t for me to say — but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty intriguing.
Because of the track’s status as a serious harness racing facility, the sportsbook is generally crowded before scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports only, make sure you grab a copy of the daily racing form to observe when the lines will begin piling up.
A wonderful byproduct of the place’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 at both of the other sportsbooks, but the folks in Harrington batted 1.000 in relation to precision.
In general, the experience surpassed what I would have expected when I saw the building, which is likely the reason why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Based on where you call home, one of the 3 venues listed above are the most convenient based solely on closeness. That is probably reason enough to choose a favorite, but since Delaware is a small country, you can hit all three within a weekend to view them up close and personal.
In terms of my own tour of the nation’s sportsbooks, I favored Delaware Park, Harrington Raceway, and Dover Downs in that order.
Delaware Park benefits from the enthusiasm of its direction, 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 principles, and that goes a long way in my own book. When the first online sportsbooks go live in the very first State, I will bet my bottom Delaware Park is running the show.
Harrington Raceway may 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 with ease. Whether that success goes to sports betting remains to be seen, however I have a feeling severe bettors can call this place home.
In terms of Dover Downs, my feelings about the problem are simple — when the people in charge don’t enjoy sports gambling, they wont appreciate sports bettors . Until I hear word of a change in tone coming down the chain of control, I simply wouldn’t expect the mistakes and malaise here to be resolved anytime soon.

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