Signs Emerge Delaware’s Sports Betting Monopoly Is Nearing Its End

Delaware is an interesting case study. They are both first-movers and laggers in the sports betting legalization landscape. This dichotomy makes them unique among all 50 US states.

On one hand, Delaware was the first to legally approve sports betting. This came as early as June 2018 — right after the Supreme Court sided with New Jersey in the landmark Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) case. Delaware became state No. 2 with legal sports betting after Nevada.

However, legalizing doesn’t mean actually opening up sports betting. You see, sports betting in Delaware didn’t actually launch until December 2023 — more than five years after officially legalizing. Why, you ask? Well, it’s complicated.

On one hand, they first legalized cause, well, they had legalized it back in 2009. However, due to PASPA, they never implemented it. This gave them a clear path to legalize again when PASPA ended. This means their intent from the get-go was never set on offering betting and that’s why it fell by the wayside for half a decade.

Things are starting to change though, starting with a new bill that will make the state’s intentions on betting clear: we want more of it. Allow us to explain what’s going on in Delaware and try to make sense of this convoluted mess.

New Bill Could Open Up Delaware Betting Market

Here’s the thing about Delaware betting: there is a monopoly. Rush Street Interactive has exclusive rights to betting inside of the state. They took over at the tail end of 2023, taking the right from the previous contract holder, 888 (William Hill). The previous company never got the chance to offer online sports betting, but iGaming has been open since 2013. This agreement is with the Delaware State Lottery Office, which technicals licenses out their monopoly.

Rush Street’s entrance was both good and bad. Good because they got sports betting in the door, unlike 888. The company operates BetRivers, which has a full-on sportsbook arm. The downside, however, is that Delawareans lost access to regulated real money online poker, which 888 did offer. BetRivers Poker platform is in the works, but remains in development for now. You got to take the good with the bad, right?

Well, not if in-state lawmakers have their way. During May, lawmakers in the House pushed forward bill HB 365. Included in that bill is a provision that would effectively end Rush Street’s monopoly — sort of. See, the bill, if passed, would give each of the state’s three “racinos” the option to have a second skin for online sports betting. The three racinos are as follows:

  • Delaware Park Casino in Wilmington
  • Dover Downs in Dover
  • Harrington Raceway in Harrington

To be clear, those three locations offer in-person sports betting, but not online. It would be on those three rasinos to choose a sportsbook partner. So it still wouldn’t be a completely free market. For instance, a market leader like DraftKings couldn’t just operate without a partnership with one of the trio.

The bill still has some work before it can get passed. It only passed a vote in the House Administration Committee. From here, it goes to the House at-large, then the Senate, then the Governor. But at least there’s traction, which has been nonexistent since 2018.

How Can I Bet In Delaware?

The easiest way to gamble is just through the BetRivers app. Is it as dandy as some of the market leaders like BetMGM and FanDuel? Admittedly, no. However, it’s not unusable either. In other words, it gets the job done.

And as we mentioned before, you could always visit one of the three physical locations and bet there. We’ve been there and it’s a good time. All the major betting markets are allowed — NFL, MLB, NBA, soccer, UFC, and so on. However, there is no betting on collegiate teams based out of Delaware like the Blue Hens.

Daily fantasy sports from the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel are also available. These platforms have real-money contests continually up so there’s money to be made for fantasy bettors.

Since the Delaware Lottery runs the show, they have their own betting options too. Powerball and Mega Millions get the most attention because of their massive prize pools. However, Keno, scratch-off tickets, and Sports Pick are also games that can be played. Sports Pick is an interesting one because it’s essentially a sports parlay, just run via the lottery.

Here’s the best option for Deleweans sports fanatics though: go to an offshore sportsbook. Since these operations are housed offshore, they bypass Delaware and U.S. regulations. They’re safe too, well, the ones we recommend below at least. These five are the highest-rated offshore sportsbooks in the business:

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1

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2

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125% Sports Bonus - up to $2,500

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3

★★★★☆

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Offshore sportsbooks work perfectly fine in-state. In fact, we prefer these offshore betting apps to BetRivers. They have the same betting markets, plus higher promotional bonuses, support for crypto, and good customer service. Give em a look if you’re fed up with the state’s handling of sports betting since 2018.

Eric Uribe

Eric was born and raised in Nevada — the center of gambling in the United States. Throw in his natural interest in sports, and Eric was destined to be a sports bettor. This came to a head once Eric turned 21. Already a working sports journalist while in college, Eric began betting at his local sportsbook. Despite massive losses (at first), Eric continued to chip away at wagering. Eventually, he got half-decent at it. Now Eric is a trusted betting analyst. Not only is he skilled at making picks, but also breaking down the state of the industry — legalization, revenue, and innovation. You can read Eric's writings exclusively on OSB.