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Wanna Bet? Delaware ramps up to launch full-scale sports gambling

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Delaware Public Media
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Full-scale sports betting could be up and running in the First State in just over a week.

Delaware may become the very first state to take advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this month that struck down a federal law banning sports gambling in most places nationwide.

Delaware Park is home to one of the state’s three casinos that will be allow to take wagers.   It’s president, Bill Fasy, says the first week of June remains the goal for expanding beyond parlay bets on NFL games - the limited exemption Delaware had to the federal ban.

And Fasy says they’ll offer betting on all sports and just about every betting option available.

"I think the only thing we’re not going to offer is 'in game' wagering," said Fasy.  "You’re going to have prop bets.  You’re just not going to have in game prop bets going on.  And eventually you’re going to have a mobile device."

But Fasy notes online betting is likely come a bit later,  perhaps in 3-4 months during the upcoming football season.

Fasy also doesn’t expect sports betting to be the major financial boon to the state or casinos that some expect.  He says the volume of bets will jump, but notes casinos fare worse on straight up bets than the parlay wagers the state was offering – limiting the revenue to be made.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision opened the door for states to decide if they want to let people wager on sports.  It’s clear most will to try to cash in,  and the race is on to see who will be the first to join Nevada in offering full scale sports gambling.

Delaware benefitted from a head start in the race to get sports betting up and running.  It had an exemption from the federal ban and approved legislation to allow sports betting back in 2009, hoping for full sports wagering then.  But the First State was ultimately limited by a federal court ruling to parlay betting on NFL games.

Still, with that legislation in place and infrastructure to take bets, including sports books at the state’s 3 casinos, already set up, Delaware has a first mover advantage.  New Jersey is also looking to move quickly, and hope to be up and running by mid-June.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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