Delaware Online Sports Betting Launches With BetRivers Sportsbook

Online sports betting officially launched in Delaware with BetRivers Sportsbook, owned by Rush Street Interactive.

Officially becoming the 29th state to launch legal sports betting, Delaware launched its first online sportsbook late in Dec. 2023.

Earlier in the year, the state lottery announced the selection of Rush Street Interactive as the successor to previous vendor 888. Rush Street Interactive will operate online sports betting in Delaware for five years with an additional provision of one-year extensions capped at a maximum of five years.

Delaware holds the distinction of being one of the earliest states to legalize iGaming in June 2012. However, online sports betting remained illegal until Dec. 27, 2023, when it was officially legalized by the state, making Delaware the 28th state in the United States to launch legal online sports betting. With the official launch, BetRivers became the first online sportsbook legally allowed to operate in Delaware.

Along with Nevada, Delaware was the first state to offer full-scale sports betting after the repeal of PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in May 2018. The state allowed sports betting at three casinos: Bally’s Dover, Delaware Park Casino, and the Harrington Casino & Raceway in June 2018.

Delaware Capitalizes on Immunity From PASPA

When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional, it deemed that states were free to set their own rules regarding gambling and wagering. Accordingly, the four states of Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware were granted immunity from PASPA prohibitions due to the mechanisms these states already had to regulate sports betting. Specifically, in the case of Delaware, parlay betting on sports remained a legal form of wagering within state boundaries.

It was not until New Jersey won its appeal in the SCOTUS that it, and accordingly every other state in the United States, was granted the right to regulate all forms of gambling and wagering independent of Congress. It is important to note that the launch of BetRivers is not the first time a sportsbook has been allowed to operate in the state.

However, it would be a long time before Delaware worked to legalize and regulate the state’s online betting market. With initial plans indicating that online sports betting would launch in tandem with the 2023 football season in September, Delaware legislators argued that it would be premature, instead offering suggestions on better regulatory mechanisms. A few months later, the Delaware State Lottery would go on to implement its original online sports wagering system despite the legislators’ apprehensions, setting an age limit of 21 for anyone to access online betting services in the state.

The lottery and gambling establishment in Delaware is structured in a way that each of the state’s three casinos is a private entity and individually owned and yet still operates as extensions of the state lottery.

With the casino slot machines functioning as video lottery terminals, the lottery collects close to 38% of the gross proceeds from the machines, while the casinos are allowed to retain 44%. The remaining funds are distributed between the horse racing industry (11%) and vendor fees (7%). Similarly, casinos keep 80% of the revenue from table games, with 15% being redirected to the lottery and the remaining 5% funding the state’s horse racing industry.

Delaware Lottery to Continue to Govern State Wagering Activity

Like with slots and table games, the Delaware Lottery will continue to govern all sports betting operations in the state, with BetRivers set to replace the 888 subsidiary William Hill. As part of the sportsbook agreement with the state, the Delaware Lottery has permitted the sportsbook to accept bets on the Internet.

iGaming sites for Bally’s, Delaware Park, and Harrington are all redirecting to BetRivers now, with the operator taking over all the online wagering activity in the state. The development makes Delaware one of only seven states that have completely legalized iGaming, in addition to New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and West Virginia.

The three sites operated by Betrivers will be associated with the three racetrack casinos in Delaware. Speaking on the development, Richard Schwartz, CEO of Rush Street Interactive, issued a statement: “We are honored to collaborate with the Delaware Lottery team and the state’s three casinos to offer consumers who are geo-located in Delaware with safe, convenient, and innovative online gaming experiences.” The revenue generated from online betting in casinos will be funneled into the Delaware General Fund.

Rush Street Interactive Betting on Delaware After Exiting Connecticut

In April 2023, Rush Street Interactive terminated a $170 million agreement with the Connecticut Lottery after falling short of its pre-market business forecasts by a large margin. The deal encompassed the operation of in-person and online sports betting on behalf of the state. However, Rush Street’s SugarHouse Sportsbook could not compete with DraftKings and FanDuel in the state.

Accordingly, Rush Street has turned its attention to Delaware, a more mature sports betting market than Connecticut. The industry hopes for a more open market at the end of Rush Street Interactive’s five-year term in 2029, with state legislators recognizing the importance of a competitive market to boost tax revenues in the long term.

About the Author
Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro covers the sports betting industry and revenue reporting at Gaming Today. Much of his work analyzes state revenue information, including betting activity and revenue for individual states and sportsbook operators. In addition, Nikhil provides news updates on the gambling industry itself, including product launches and legal issues. Nikhil’s previous experience includes five years with ESPN.

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