— Delaware became the first U.S. state aside from Nevada to allow wagers on individual professional sporting contests, just three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court freed states to do so.
Michelle Gustafson SPORTBETTING_GUSTAFSON
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
Full-scale sports books opened at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Delaware’s three casinos, offering single-game bets on football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer. The move trumped neighboring New Jersey, whose challenge the court used to strike the prohibition. New Jersey lawmakers are scheduled to vote on new gambling regulations to accommodate single bets later this week.
The inaugural bet was made by Governor John Carney of Delaware, whose state was the first to challenge the federal sports betting ban in 2009. He put down $10 on the Philadelphia Phillies to beat the Chicago Cubs tonight at Wrigley Field. Carney was quickly followed by Stuart Feiner, a professional gambler from Long Island who bet $500 that the Pittsburgh Pirates would defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Feiner said he came to the Dover Downs casino to support legal sports betting. “It removes the bad aura about betting as illegal and will encourage more people to participate,” said Feiner, daftar poker clad in black shorts and a black T-shirt with the words “I will kill your bookie.”
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Carney said the state had no plans to expand wagering outside casinos, adding that “I don’t expect” people will be able to bet at convenience stores and gas stations.
Delaware wasn’t racing to be the first to offer single bets after the nation’s highest court cleared the way on May 14, but had the advantage of having its regulatory system in place, said Rick Geisenberger, Delaware’s secretary of finance. One of four states grandfathered into a 1992 federal ban on sports betting, Delaware already operated a sports lottery that allowed bets on multiple games, known as parlays.
“It was more important for us to get it right than to have it first,’’ Geisenberger said. The state recently oversaw computer training of casino employees who’ll handle the bets.
Under Delaware’s gambling scheme, bettors have to place wagers in person at Dover Downs or one of the state’s other casinos, Delaware Park outside Wilmington or the Harrington Raceway & Casino, south of Dover.
Geisenberger said state officials are discussing an app that would allow gamblers to make bets over their phones if they are “geo-located,’’ meaning physically present, in Delaware. “That means if someone is registered with the casinos, they could place a bet from their car as they drive through the state.’’
Being first, though, may not mean much given that nearby states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania will quickly have their own single-bet systems, said Chris Grove, managing director of sports at the research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.