Delaware Leads Pack in Sports Betting After High Court Ruling

By: - June 6, 2018 12:00 am

Democratic Delaware Gov. John Carney displays a bill before using it to place a bet on a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies. Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to institute sports betting in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing sports wagering nationwide last month. Patrick Semansky/AP

Delaware Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, made the first legal wager on a baseball game in Delaware since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports betting less than a month ago, and it was a good one.

He laid down 10 bucks on the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night, and he won. They beat the Chicago Cubs 6 to 1.

Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting, taking advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last month that states could decide whether to allow it within their borders.  

States are hoping for a financial windfall from the wagering, even though experts caution they may be overly optimistic. Even before the high court’s decision, about 20 states were readying legislation to get into the sports betting market, including New Jersey, which brought the case. Delaware has had a sports betting law on the books since 2009, but was prevented from implementing it until the court ruled. The New Jersey Legislature is expected to have a bill ready for Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy to sign within days.

All three casinos in Delaware — Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel and Casino, and Harrington Raceway and Casino — now offer betting on single games and championships in professional baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, golf and auto racing.

“Delaware has all necessary legal and regulatory authority to move forward with a full-scale sports gaming operation,” Carney said in a statement prior to the opening of betting. “We’re hopeful that this will bring even more visitors into Delaware to see firsthand what our state has to offer.”

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Elaine S. Povich
Elaine S. Povich

Elaine S. Povich covers consumer affairs for Stateline. Povich has reported for Newsday, the Chicago Tribune and United Press International.