Back in 1976 the state had created a parlay lottery. This lottery allowed you to bet on multiple events with one wager. It was a high risk, high returns form of sports betting. The initial lottery closed the following year, but the state continued to allow parlay sports betting, even during the PAPSA ban.
So, it came as no surprise that they were one of the first states to legalize sports betting. But very few expected it to be the first, even pipping New Jersey across the finish line.
Almost immediately the state’s three largest casinos, Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway offered sports betting.
Their sportsbooks were packed out, everything seems to be progressing and then…. Well, nothing. Over a year later, and nothing has changed. Customers still have to attend one of the three land-based casinos to place a bet.
Whilst NJ and PA have stormed ahead with online sports betting, Delaware is now languishing far behind. This can be put down to a number of reasons.
Firstly, Deleware has been keen to keep control of the betting situation. With less than one million inhabitants the state is eager to retain their own identity and become known as a gambling haven. Some states, such as NJ have made sure that they have unrestrictive regulation, whereas others such as Nevada, have placed all sorts of regulation for online customers.
Secondly, the population's size means that there is little pressure from sportsbooks to loosen restrictions. The big sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel and 888Sport will no doubt set up shop in Deleware one day, but for the moment there are bigger fish to fry.
Then you also have the states distance from New York, which is close but yet so far. Sandwiched in between NY and Deleware sit PA and NJ. The two states that are leading the pack in terms of sports betting. This means that New Yorkers are much more likely to visit these two states to partake in sports betting than taking the trip to Deleware.