Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to launch legal single-game sports wagering on Tuesday, with Delaware Gov. John Carney making the first bet on the Philadelphia Phillies to beat the Chicago Cubs.

Born in Delaware, Gov. Carney admitted to being a life-long Philadelphia sports fan. He said he wouldn’t think of betting on teams from any other city:

“Today, I’m going to be the first here outside of Las Vegas to make a legal wager on one of those Philadelphia teams: The Fightin’ Phils… There will be no bets from this governor on any other teams than the Philadelphia teams.”

The Delaware state capital of Dover is just 80 miles from Philadelphia. Plus, Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, is just 30 miles away.

At 1:30 p.m. when the betting windows officially opened inside Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Gov. Carney bet $10 on the Philadelphia Phillies verses the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The money line on the Phillies was +200. The Phillies went on to beat the Cubs 6-1.

Delaware sports betting

Delaware announced last week full-scale sports betting operations would launch at all three Delaware casinos on Tuesday.

In addition to Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, the state’s casinos include:

  • Delaware Park
  • Harrington Raceway & Casino

The Delaware Lottery single-game wagering sports betting product, Sports Pick, is now available at sportsbooks inside all three casinos.

The Delaware Lottery already offered NFL parlay betting, a product that will continue to be available at various lottery retailers and bars. However, full-scale sports wagering is only available at sportsbooks inside the casinos.

The US Supreme Court‘s May 14 decision to declare the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional opened the door for states to join Nevada in legalizing single-game sports wagering.

New Jersey fought PASPA in the courts, but lawmakers there are still putting together regulatory sports betting legislation. Delaware was able to open up its local sports betting market first because the legal framework for sports betting inside its borders was already there.

Pennsylvania sports betting

Pennsylvania passed sports betting legislation pending the Supreme Court decision as a part of a comprehensive gambling expansion bill given the thumbs up by lawmakers in October 2017.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board invited the state’s 13 existing casino license holders to apply for the right to establish sportsbooks last week. However, PA casinos appear to have balked at the $10 million licensing fee and 36 percent sports betting tax rate the state plans to charge. So far, no casino has applied for a sportsbook license in PA.

For now, Pennsylvanians who want to bet legally on sports will have to go to Delaware to do it.

Fortunately, Delaware Park is just 45 minutes from Philadelphia. Plus, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway & Casino are both less than a two-hour drive away.

Photo by Donald B. Kravitz, DBKphoto /