Delaware Sports Betting

Last updated: Oct 18, 2023

Although Delaware’s nickname is the First State, it may not be the first US state you’d think of when it comes to legalizing sports betting. But Delaware was the first to launch single-game sports betting after the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). So online and retail sports betting has been legal in DE since 2018. 

Sports betting has a long history in DE, with the state launching a lottery parlay betting game in 1976. This exempted (’grandfathered') Delaware from some PASPA restrictions, allowing state legislators to reintroduce parlay sports betting relatively quickly. As the state already brought back lottery parlays in 2009, the infrastructure was already in place for more legal sports betting, allowing Delaware to live up to its nickname and be the First State to accept legal sports bets after PASPA.

You can visit one of the DE’s three land-based casinos and place bets with retail sportsbooks operated by the Delaware Lottery. While online sports betting is legal in Delaware, there are no live DE online sportsbooks to date. Probably because the state’s size, population, and tax rates don’t make it beneficial for operators to launch.

Read our guide to discover more about legal betting in Delaware, including nearby states with betting, teams to bet on, and retail sports betting locations.

Delaware Legislation Timeline

  • September 1976: The Delaware Lottery launches Sports Lottery, a game where players select a parlay of three or more games. However, Sports Lottery was scrapped after the 1976 NFL season due to incorrect betting lines and lack of availability.  
  • October 28, 1992: President George W. Bush signs PASPA, effectively outlawing sports betting in the US for all states that hadn’t previously had a sports betting product available. Nevada was the only state that offered single-game betting. However, the Sports Lottery game in Delaware opens the door for the state to introduce a similar game in the future. 
  • May 15, 2009: Governor Jack Markell signs a law allowing all types of sports betting to be legalized in Delaware and legalizing casino games and poker. This legislation is opposed by the Federal Court and fails in the Appeals Court, as PASPA only allows Delaware to introduce a parlay lottery game. 
  • September 2009: The Delaware Lottery reintroduces the Sports Lottery game for the NFL and college football season after Gov. Markell fails to legalize all sports betting markets in the state. 
  • May 14, 2018: PASPA is overturned by the US Supreme Court, allowing each state to legalize sports betting. Delaware finds itself in a good position to take advantage of this ruling as all research and planning required for launching legalized sports betting was undertaken during the attempt to launch sports betting in 2009.
  • June 5, 2018: Delaware becomes the first state post PASPA to accept a legal sports bet. Retail sports betting launches at three casinos across the state. While online sports betting is legalized, no betting sites have launched.

Legal Betting in Delaware

Delaware is one of the most progressive states in the US for legal gambling, as the first state to embrace legal sports betting. However, there is no online sports betting, as betting sites have little incentive to launch in such a small state. 

You can place bets at three retail sportsbooks in DE, which can all be found at brick-and-mortar casinos. The state runs all the casinos, and the sportsbooks operate in partnership with William Hill for odds and markets. The US division of William Hill was acquired by Caesars, one of the biggest betting brands in the US.

This means it doesn’t matter which retail sportsbook you visit. You’ll still get the same high-quality experience. Here is where you can find the state’s three sportsbooks.  

  • Delaware Park Casino, Wilmington
  • Dover Downs, Dover
  • Harrington Raceway and Casino, Harrington

Along with sports betting, all three of these casinos provide a full range of slot machines, table games, and poker rooms. In addition to the live casino experience, Delaware is one of only six US states offering online casino games

Even though regulated sportsbooks are available, bettors can still play the Delaware Sports Lottery parlay game. You can play at any lottery retail in the state, giving you more than 100 places to play. You must create a parlay of three games or more to get an eligible ticket from the Sports Lottery. 

Pari-mutuel horse racing betting is another type of gambling legal in Delaware, with two racetracks offering live harness racing throughout the year. Delaware Park and Dover Downs host regular race meets and have simulcast betting services, with Harrington Park offering simulcast betting as well. Online horse racing betting is also available with brands like TwinSpires and TVG. 

Delaware lawmakers legalized Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games on July 26, 2017, and you can play these games anywhere in the state. The top operators, like FanDuel and DraftKings, are all available to DE players.

Bordering States

Delaware shares a border with three states, and fortunately for residents of Delaware, all three states have legalized sports betting. While you can experience retail sports betting in DE, all three neighboring states offer regulated online sportsbooks. All you have to do is travel across the border and bet online with one of the many online sportsbooks available. 

Maryland

Sports betting was legalized in Maryland on May 18, 2021, with retail sports betting going live in December 2021. Online sports betting launched on November 23, 2022. You can use sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet anywhere in the state. You must be over 21 and within the state’s borders to place legal bets. 

New Jersey 

While Delaware was the first state to legalize sports betting following the PASPA ruling, New Jersey became the trailblazer for sports betting across the US. NJ legalized sports betting on June 11, 2018, six short days after Delaware. Retail sportsbooks opened in June 2018, with online sportsbooks opening in August 2018. 

New Jersey has the largest overall betting handle of any US state and provides bettors with a choice of ten retail sportsbooks and more than 20 online sportsbooks. Most retail locations are in brick-and-mortar casinos in Atlantic City.  

Pennsylvania

As one of the states that passed sports betting legislation before the PASPA decision, Pennsylvania had the chance to launch sports betting very early compared to other US sportsbooks. Retail betting went live in November 2018, and online sportsbooks went live in May 2019.

There are more than a dozen retail sportsbooks at land-based casinos across the state and several online sportsbooks available. You can use betting sites like BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, and FOX Bet.

Delaware Sports Teams

While there are no sports teams in the big four leagues in Delaware, DE sports fans are lucky because they are close to many teams. Most people are less than a two-hour drive from three NFL teams. Check out some of the most popular teams to get behind below.

Baltimore Ravens

The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens are one of the youngest NFL franchises but have enjoyed a huge amount of success since launching in 1996. The Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2001 and 2013 and have made 13 postseason appearances since 2000. Home games are played at the 70,000-capacity M&T Bank Stadium.

Philadelphia Eagles logo
Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the oldest teams in the NFL, formed in 1933. The Eagles won three NFL Championships in the pre-Super Bowl era and finally won its first Lombardi Trophy in 2017 after losing its first two Super Bowl appearances. The 2017 Super Bowl would forever place journeyman quarterback Nick Foles and the ‘Philly Special’ into Philadelphia sporting folklore.

Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders have been in operation since 1932 and have played football in Washington since 1937. The team has won three Super Bowls (1982, 1987, and 1991) and was considered one of the great 1980s teams. However, success in the 2000s has been hard for the franchise to find. The team plays at FedEx Field, one of the great US sporting locations.

Philadelphia 76ers logo
Philadelphia 76ers

NBA fans in Philadelphia love to get behind the 76ers and have seen amazing highs and crushing lows since the team moved to the city in 1963. The 76ers have won three NBA Championships, with the 1967 team considered one of the best in the history of the NBA. Basketball fans also fondly remembered the 2001 team led by Allen Iverson.

Philadelphia Phillies logo
Philadelphia Phillies

The MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies have one of the loudest fan bases in US sports, and those passionate fans have seen the team win the World Series twice. The team also made it to the 2022 World Series led by Bryce Harper, but fell to the Houston Astros. The Phillies play at the 42,000-capacity Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia Flyers logo
Philadelphia Flyers

As two-time Stanley Cup winners, the Philadelphia Flyers have a lot of respect from local sports fans. The Flyers enjoy fierce rivalries with the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Many Delaware sports fans cross the border to bet on and support this NHL franchise.

Delaware Sporting Events

While there are plenty of passionate sports fans in Delaware, there aren’t many sports events in the state. This is because of a lack of sports venues, nearby states with better facilities, and a small local population. However, college sports are huge with DE sports fans. 

The state has two NCAA Division I teams that attract the most attention: the University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens and the Delaware State University Hornets. The Fightin’ Blue Hens have had the most success of the team teams, with the football and women’s basketball teams drawing plenty of supporters.

FAQs

Online sports betting is legal in Delaware and has been since 2018, but no online sportsbooks are operating. This is due to the small market size of Delaware, the small area size, and the availability of retail sportsbooks. There is a 50% tax on any online operator that chooses to launch in the state, so it is unlikely that any online sports betting will launch soon.

Yes, horse racing betting is legal in Delaware, with racing activity being traced back to as early as 1760. There are two active harness racing tracks, Delaware Park and Dover Downs. These two venues also offer simulcast betting, as does Harrington Park. Online horse racing betting is also available with sites like TVG and TwinSpires.

The Delaware Lottery oversees all sports betting in Delaware. The Lottery also operates the Sports Lottery parlay game you can find at hundreds of lottery retailers. While the state’s retail sportsbooks are overseen by the Delaware Lottery, the odds and markets are provided by William Hill.

No, mobile sports betting is not available in Delaware, even though it is legal. Delaware is the 45th most populated US state, and combined with the state’s high tax rate means no online sportsbook has decided to launch. However, if Delaware residents want to place online sports bets, they can travel to a neighboring state with legal online sports betting.

You must be 21 or older to bet on sports in Delaware. Every retail sportsbook in the state will require you to provide your photo ID to prove your age. However, the minimum age to bet on Daily Fantasy Sports and horse racing is 18.

Yes, you can play Daily Fantasy Sports in Delaware. Governor John Carney legalized Daily Fantasy Sports on July 26, 2017, when he signed the Delaware Interactive Fantasy Contest Act. Daily Fantasy Sports are regulated and taxed, with operators paying an annual license fee of $50,000 and a tax of 15%.

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