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Delaware Lottery cautiously hopeful football will provide the usual sports betting boost

Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Lottery is hopeful the start of the NFL season will mark the return of some normalcy to sports betting revenue. 

While the state’s three casinos were shut down from mid-March until the start of June there was no sports betting in Delaware. And the casinos did not resume sports betting until the start of this year’s baseball season in July.

Since then, Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk says sports betting is seeing modest but steady action. He adds he’s hopeful the NFL and limited college football will provide a boost, but remains concerned about the continued impact of the virus.

“It’s going to be very iffy—a very uncertain situation,” said Kirk. “We’ve had to plan for a lot of contingencies for things like that where you get to the pro schedule and all of a sudden they cancel a game or they postpone it.” 

While Delaware’s casinos remain limited by Gov. Carney’s COVID restrictions, Kirk notes all of the normal retailers—about 100 of them—will have the NFL parlay cards. 

“Now whether some customers are not so keen on going into a store or whatever to pick up a card or go to the casino and bet it is another situation,” he said. 

Through July this year, the state earned just over 1.1 million dollars from sports betting at its 3 casinos.  During the same period in 2019 - it pulled in just over 2.5 million.  Delaware earned 6.2 million for the entire 2019 calendar year from those three sportsbooks - thanks in large part to fall football betting.

State revenue estimates in June projected a just over $42 million loss in total Delaware lottery revenue in fiscal 2020 compared to 2019 - but forecasts little further erosion in 2020 and a slight rebound in 2021.

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