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Delaware online sports betting began last week through Rush Street Gaming’s BetRivers Sportsbook.
The Delaware Lottery in August announced BetRivers as its next iGaming partner after its relationship with 888 Holdings dissolved. 888 had conducted the state lottery’s online casino operations since Delaware authorized iGaming in June 2012, and operations went live on Oct. 31, 2013.
BetRivers launched online sports betting in the First State last Wednesday, Dec. 27. It marks the commencement of online sports gambling in the state, as Delaware hadn’t allowed 888 to facilitate sports bets via the internet.
Delaware becomes the 28th state to launch legal online sports betting.
Delaware was the first state to join Nevada in offering full-scale, single-game sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 repealed a federal law called PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act). In-person sports betting at the state’s three casinos — Bally’s Dover, Delaware Park Casino, and Harrington Casino & Raceway — began in June 2018.
Delaware Slow to Join Online Sports Betting
Before PASPA was overturned, Delaware was one of four states granted some sort of immunity from the federal sports gambling law.
Because the state allowed parlay sports betting when PASPA was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1992, Delaware was grandfathered the privilege to continue running such sports betting operations that require bettors to combine several bets into one. Delaware’s parlay cards were popular with bettors throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
Delaware’s three casinos are individually owned, but function as an extension of the state-run lottery. The casinos’ slot machines are technically video lottery terminals. The lottery collects about 38% of the machines’ gross proceeds, while the casinos retain approximately 44%. The remaining funds go to the horse racing industry (11%) and vendor fees (7%).
Casinos keep 80% of their table game win and direct 15% to the lottery and 5% to the horsemen.
The Delaware Lottery also governs all sports betting operations in the state, inclusive of retail and now online operations. BetRivers replaced William Hill as the lottery’s retail sportsbook partner.
In part of BetRivers’ agreement, the Delaware Lottery agreed to allow the sportsbook to take bets via the internet.
Rush Street is betting on better success in Delaware than it found in Connecticut. The company in April terminated its $170 million deal with the Connecticut Lottery to operate in-person and online sports betting on the state entity’s behalf after failing to come anywhere near its pre-market business forecasts.
Rush’s SugarHouse Sportsbook failed to compete in Connecticut with DraftKings and FanDuel, the respective partners of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
iGaming Sites Redirected
Along with debuting online sports betting, the BetRivers launch coincided with the three casinos’ online gaming websites redirecting to the Rush Street entity. The iGaming sites for Bally’s, Delaware Park, and Harrington are all now powered by BetRivers.
BetRivers will operate the online casino sites on the state’s behalf for an initial term of five years, with the possibility of extension. iGaming in Delaware supports the Delaware General Fund.
Delaware is one of only six states with legal iGaming. The others are New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and West Virginia.
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