Delaware Online Sports Betting Market Could Expand

Posted on: April 12, 2024, 11:54h. 

Last updated on: April 12, 2024, 11:54h.

Legislation introduced in Delaware seeks to expand the First State’s online sports betting market from a sole operator.

Delaware online sports betting iGaming
Delaware lawmakers have proposed welcoming in additional online sportsbook companies. Currently, Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming’s iGaming platform BetRivers maintains a monopoly on both online casino gaming and online sports betting in the First State. (Image: Bally’s Dover Casino Resort)

Online sports betting in Delaware began only last December despite the state being among the first to allow players to bet on college and pro sports at retail facilities. The state expanded sports gambling to the internet after bringing in a new iGaming and sportsbook partner — Rush Street Gaming’s BetRivers — last summer.

BetRivers replaced 888 Holdings as the Delaware Lottery’s iGaming and sports betting operator. House Bill 365, introduced by state Reps. Franklin Cooke (D-District 16) and William Bush (D-District 29), proposes ending BetRivers’ online sports betting monopoly in favor of welcoming other sportsbook firms.

The addition of online sports betting in the First State means additional revenue will benefit programs for the treatment, education and assistance of compulsive gamblers and problem gambling,” Cooke said.

Cooke and Bush believe additional online sportsbooks could grow the state’s annual benefit from the internet wagering by $400,000. 

Bill Details

HB 365 proposes allowing the state’s three brick-and-mortar casinos — Bally’s Dover Casino Resort, Delaware Park Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino — to partner with two additional third-party online sportsbooks. Currently, the casinos, which operate slot-like video lottery terminals (VLTs) and live dealer table games on the Delaware Lottery’s behalf, can only partner with BetRivers for their online sports betting operations.

Each online sportsbook license would cost $500,000 for five years. Gross revenue would be taxed at 18%, with those proceeds allocated to the lottery. Another 1.5% of the net sports betting win would be directed to horse racing purses. The remaining 80.5% would be divvied up between the online sportsbook and casino.

BetRivers would retain a monopoly on retail sports betting at the state’s three casinos and the dozens of retail sports betting locations offering wagering kiosks.

HB 365 has been directed to the House Administration Committee for initial review.

Interest Unknown 

Delaware is home to only one million people, ranking the First State No. 46 in terms of population. With such a small population, there might not be strong interest from sportsbooks to pay $100,000 a year and a nearly 20% tax on gross revenue should HB 365 become law.

The proposed 19.5% effective tax on online sports betting revenue would be higher than the sports betting tax rates in most other states where online sportsbooks are allowed. The rate is higher than what is imposed on internet sportsbook revenue in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Many state officials have been pleased with BetRivers’ performance since launching in December. iGaming revenue is up significantly compared with 888’s online casino operation, and online sports betting is off to a strong start.

In the first two full months of online sports betting in Delaware, the lottery’s lone partner facilitated about $30.8 million in bets. Gross proceeds from the action amounted to $2.34 million. After the state’s cut, BetRivers netted about $929,000 for the two months.

Delaware is a seasonal state that sees an influx of visitors during the summer months with its more than 380 miles of shoreline.  

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