The “First State” has indeed been the first state.
Governor John Carney placed the very first sports bet on 05 June, on a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs. It was $10 well spent as his team won!
Carney explained during a press conference how Delaware had originally earned the nickname of being the “first state” as it was the first state to join the union before the other states signed up. “We are delighted to be the first again today, in allowing official betting on sports activities across our country,” he said.
Delaware is not the first to offer sports betting – but it is the first state to do so following the rescinding of the PASPA legislation by the US Supreme Court. In 2009 Delaware started offering parlay wagers, and its ambition ever since was to offer full sports betting. Its own legal efforts to bring about legislative change failed, but off the back of New Jersey’s five-year battle, the floodgates opened for the state to surge ahead.
Secretary of Finance, Rick Geisenberger said during a press conference at Dover Downs that the Carney administration had been able to move as quickly as it did to capitalize on the new sports betting opportunity as it had been preparing legislation for the previous 6 months having optimistically anticipated a win for the New Jersey challenge. “We have been assembling training materials, updating and testing software – we even developed some logo options for Sports Pick, and that list goes on and on. So when the court did take action a few weeks ago, we moved very quickly to put our plan in place”
Parlay wagers remain the domain of the lottery in Delaware, while Delaware sports betting will first be available at Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Harrington Raceway & Casino.
The complicated process for most states caught unprepared for the legalization of sports betting means that others will most probably come online little by little. In many cases, laws and regulations need to be prepared, debated and amended multiple times – and this is before reconsidering Tribal Casino compacts, taxes and best suited federal oversight processes.
New Jersey has signed off their own sports betting bill since as well, while Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi and New York are all moving in the right direction.