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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 wager indicated the beginning of a new age in American sports betting.
Governor John Carney’s flier about the Phillies managed to create a $20 profit also, after the (+200) underdogs managed to upset the Cubbies.
That ceremonial bet positioned at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was quickly followed by several larger tickets bought by more serious 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 — collected $322,135 in wagers on the first day of business. That number comes straight from Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk, who heads the regulatory team helping get Delaware’s sports gambling industry ready to go.
Residents of and visitors to Delaware have managed to partly bet on sports for many decades, but only on»parlay cards» based on National Football League (NFL) games. Those parlay cards demanded several winners to be connected together, and the only tickets that cashed were those who showed all winners.
Traditional single-game or fixed-odds sports betting, 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 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, single-game sports gambling was banned everywhere 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 known as Murphy v. NCAA. This case originated in New Jersey, after the Garden State made repeated attempts to pass its 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 ultimate 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 struck down once and for all.
What followed that decision three months ago was a veritable gold rush, with New Jersey rushing to place the last touches on its statewide regulations.
But while lawmakers in New Jersey took their time, their counterparts in Delaware already had legal frameworks set up thanks to their parlay card surgery. Called the First State for a motive, Delaware went fast to become the first nation out Nevada to accept lawful sports wagers.
Here’s how Governor Carney explained the sports gambling launch in an interview with ESPN Chalk:
«For us, it is actually an enhancement of our tourism market.
It will attract a lot of traffic to our nation, particularly in this time of year, throughout the summer, coming to our beautiful beaches south of here.
They come here and stop at the casinos and do slot machines and table gambling. This will be another chance for them.»
Carney also took a moment to hype Delaware as the Northeast’s latest sports gambling destination when talking to USA Today:
«Gloating in this business doesn’t last very long.
We’re happy to be first today.
I really don’t expect we’ll be the only one quite long, but now it feels really good to be first.»
(Quotation link)
Carney’s historic 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 in Atlantic City go live — which should be any moment now — Delaware stands out as the sole spot for residents of the East Coast to place wagers. With that in mind, bettors will be flocking to those casinos from all corners of the Northeast.
To help get you started in your sports betting journey, I’ve gone ahead and seen each of the three sportsbooks in Delaware. Below you’ll discover objective and honest reviews of each centre, along with have to know information like the address, contact number, site, and distances from regional population centers.
Check out my reviews of those 3 sportsbook venues now operating in Delaware to make a more informed decision with your gambling buck:
Delaware Park Racetrack
Address: 777 Delaware Park Blvd, Wilmington, DE 19804
Telephone: -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 this state, in town of Wilmington, Delaware Park Racetrack is the very conveniently accessible venue for folks in New York and New England.
It’s also the most appealing of the trio, the casino centre nestled near the banks of the Delaware River along a grassy green mountain. In the outside, Delaware Park appears to be just another stately three-story property, but once you step foot in you’ll feel as if you have walked onto the casino floor in Las Vegas.
Between the slot machines, bright lights, and golden trimming, this place is much more like the Golden Nugget compared to typical rural racetrack.
When you find the sportsbook areas — that are located in the clubhouses on the 1st and 3rd floors — you’ll 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 out them in favour of high-definition television screens instead.
But you know what they say about a man’s trash being another’s treasure, therefore Delaware Park is happy to have the gambling boards on site.
Just ask William Fasy, that serves as president of Delaware Park. During a meeting with Deadspin to celebrate his sportsbook opening for company, Fasy touted his venue’s most prominent technological boom:
«These boards were bought eight decades back, and they are no longer used in Vegas.
But they’re the best boards in Delaware!»
(Quotation link)
If you are unfamiliar with a sportsbook betting board the image below will show you what I am discussing.
Sports Book Beting Board
As you can see, each game or wager is coded using a base number (401, 402, etc. in the example image above). When gambling on 401 from the picture above, you would be financing the Minnesota Vikings (-10) over the Los Angeles Rams. That (-10) figure denotes the point spread, therefore in this case, that the Vikings would be laying 10 points to the Rams.
If you wished to take Minnesota without the spread, just look for the negative or positive 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 backing a large (-600) favorite, even though a bet on the underdog Rams would offer (+400) on your money.
Each participant or team will have their own number, so you would 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 weren’t up and running just yet when I visited the centre, but they seemed like ATM machines in the early 1990s. Think a boxy frame, small display, and no-nonsense interface and you will get the idea.
You can wager for your heart’s content in Delaware Park, which provides daily actions on Major League Baseball (MLB), plus the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, and a slew of everyday golf and tennis tournaments.
If you are considering futures betting, have a shot in the forthcoming 2018 World Cup soccer championship, or try and predict which NFL team will take the Super Bowl title this year.
Fasymade it clear in a round of meet and greets with the local media that Delaware Park would be going»all in» on its sportsbook. According to him, each Kind of gambling will be on the desk, save you:
«I feel the only thing we’re not going to provide is’in sport’ wagering.
You’re likely to have prop bets. You’re simply not going to have in game prop bets happening.
And eventually you’re going to have a mobile device.»
(Quote 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 drops into an early hole, and you are keen on balancing the ledger. Putting an in-game bet on the opposite side offers valuable protection against upsets and unexpected conditions.
While the in-game gambling fad won’t be coming into Delaware Park just yet, Fasy did allude to the emergence of mobile and online wagering in the future.
Don’t overlook, Delaware is one of just three countries — along with Nevada and New Jersey — where a legal and regulated 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 until it’s possible to download the Delaware Park sportsbook program directly to your smartphone or cellular device.
If it comes to customer support, Delaware Park really hit the ball out of the park. Under advice from Fasy — who’s obviously enthused about turning the place into a sports bettor’s haven — the team here are educated and courteous. Sure, a couple hiccups could be observed in terms of erroneous tickets and so on, for example my futures wager on the Miami Dolphins year win total being entered as a Miami Marlins moneyline by mistake.
However, those growing pains should be expected for any new sportsbook. Because of this useful attendants, I managed to cancel the Marlins ticket and then swap it for the Dolphins in a couple of minutes.
Overall, I can’t recommend Delaware Park enough, based both on the venue’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 Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, my first thought was of those glittering Off-Strip casinos sprinkled throughout the Las Vegas desert.
Places such as the South Point and Red Rock Resort, which unite sprawling hotel towers spanning a number of stories with classical design — that is what Dover Downs is about for.
And the illusion isn’t broken one bit when you walk through the doorways. Vaulted ceilings, fancy artwork, and marble floors all combine to turn the place into a casino connoisseur’s dream come true. This location includes conference halls, shopping outlets, and of course, a racetrack in which NASCAR events are hosted every year.
Head through the main entry and find the nearest bar off to the side, and you’ll be smack dab at the sportsbook. Just look for the big comfy chairs and massive projector displays overhead, and you are there.
At first glance, the sportsbook facility at Dover Downs appears to indicate a flourishing enterprise set to capitalize on the demise of PASPA. And to be sure, the centre has expanded its offerings to include the complete complement of single-game wagers, props, and futures.
However during my time there, the focus from staff and customers alike stayed on horse racing. This makes sense I suppose, what with the place’s longstanding association with the»Sport of Kings.»
I was curious, but about the apparent absence of buzz regarding ordinary sports gambling, especially with the NBA and NHL Finals going on in the moment.
A little digging around advised the narrative, like I discovered the following quotation from Dover Downs president Ed Sutor within an article published by theDelaware Public:
«It’s wonderful to have. [However ] in Nevada, where they’ve had it for 50 decades, it only represents about two percent of the revenues.
A lot of people are mistaking the amounts bet as the earnings.
It is not a massive take for the business.»
(Quote link)
Sutor was not the only Dover Downs executive that appeared to be lukewarm at best as it came to enlarged sportsbooks in the nation:
Dover Downs Gamingchief executive officer Denis McGlynn threw cold water on the idea that sports betting would be an economic boon for the state when talking to Delaware Online:
«There’s a great deal of rhetoric that gets thrown around down there which does not have some basis in fact.People have to control their expectations on this.
The dollars that are left over after you pay off the winners are extremely little and you divide it among many different people in this state.
When (surrounding countries ) wake up and running, we are just going to see a draining of people that are coming here, just as we’ve seen in the regular casino business and prior to this in the horse racing business.»
(Quotation link)
Even though a pragmatic business standpoint certainly makes sense, particularly by an operator’s standpoint, I am not sure I understand Dover Downs’ angle on this.
By failing to embrace 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 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 marketplace with $1.2 million, nearly three times that obtained in by Dover Downs ($422,000).
The absence of religion expressed by the higher-ups in Dover Downs seems to have trickled down to the staff level. Clerks didn’t seem very educated when I inquired about futures betting, and unless you were wagering on the ponies, nobody voiced the kind 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 enjoys.
Harrington Raceway and Casino
Address: 18500 S Dupont Hwy, Harrington, DE 19952
Phone: -LRB-302-RRB-??398-4920
Website: http://casino.harringtonraceway.com/sports-book
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’ll be forgiven for driving by the location without even noticing.
This casino has been affixed to a small harness racing track, and the whole grounds was built out in the middle of nowhere.
The casino building’s exterior resembles that of non-denominational church, rather than much adorns it to suggest gambling and entertainment is afoot. It is an interesting design choice to say the least, and things do not exactly enhance when you head indoors.
If you’ve ever been to the older Downtown district in Las Vegas — home of»fabulous» Fremont Street — then you understand what to expect at Harrington Raceway. Rundown slot machines, aging d??cor, along with a normally sullen scene are the defining features of this casino floor.
Luckily for bettors, the sportsbook place does offer a little bit of improvement — but just barely. Things fell more straightforward in there, however, the setup of personal cubicles with connected TV monitors — standard for racebooks — isn’t exactly inviting. The projector screens overhead are big and bright however, so I will give them that much.
Interestingly enough, Harrington Raceway’s chief executive officer Patti Key has yet to comment publicly on the legalization of sports gambling. Whether this speaks to some companywide philosophy emphasizing horse racing over the sportsbook is not for me to say but Key staying tight-lipped is pretty interesting.
Because of the track’s standing as a severe harness racing facility, the sportsbook is usually crowded ahead of scheduled start times. If you’re there for sports just, make sure you grab a copy of the daily racing form to see when the lines will probably begin piling up.
A nice byproduct of the place’s serious approach to horse racing is the staff are ready and ready to roll. I needed to fix a few ticket authors from time to time at the other two sportsbooks, but the folks in Harrington batted 1.000 in relation to accuracy.
Overall, the experience surpassed that which I would have expected when I saw the building, which is likely why they say never to judge a book by it’s cover.
Depending on where you call home, among the 3 venues listed above are the most convenient based solely on proximity. That’s probably reason enough to choose 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 enthusiasm of its leadership, as Fasy brings a genuine interest in the sports betting industry to the table. His team are really eager to help new bettors learn the ropes, 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 series.
Harrington Raceway may not be much to check at, but the venue 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 sense severe bettors will call this place home.
As for Dover Downs, my feelings about the problem are simple — when the people in control don’t enjoy sports gambling, they won’t appreciate sports bettors either. Until I hear word about 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.

Read more: evergreenunited.org

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