DELAWARE Sports Betting
On Tuesday June 5th, 2018 Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to offer legal single-game sports wagering through their state lottery. This distinction is important because Delaware has been offering multi-game parlay wagers for some time, but now is offering in their words “Vegas Style Sports Betting”.
Symbolism and Curiosity – Delaware Sports Betting
I drove down to Delaware excited to participate in the process of legal sports gambling. The symbolism of going, because I could, was more important than any particular wager I had in mind. I was thrilled for the day to be here, but I had two concerns. Lines and well…lines. Lines of people were my first concern, as day one would surely be a madhouse. Will the staff be able to keep up with demand? Will they know what they are doing? Will the bettors in line have any idea what they are doing? The other line I refer to are the betting lines. Would these lines be competitive with other lines that may be available elsewhere? Would there be an additional baked in fee for the legality of the action? Most of these questions would be answered with positive results. The line of people was not nearly as bad as I had imagined. There were roughly 30 people in line ahead of me and the line moved relatively quickly. There were four windows moving simultaneously and the positive conversation with fellow bettors helped pass the time. In my experience regular sports bettors waiting in line are not a particularly gregarious bunch, so I enjoyed the time and the irony.
(Some) Sharper Lines
The betting lines that I was also concerned with turned out to be a complete non-factor. In fact, when I compared the legal lines offered to other lines that I was aware of, the Delaware Park lines were sharper than my available comparative options. In other words, the gambler would have less at risk to win the same amount, or win more for the same amount at risk. Not on every wager, but certainly enough to find additional value.
Gambling with Training Wheels
There were plenty of first-time bettors in attendance and Delaware Park was well prepared. Pamphlets were explaining the different wagers as well as people walking around answering questions. Some of these questions overheard were quite comical, but understanding the where and the when of the experience allowed me to enjoy the questions without being annoyed by them. This was day one for the workers and day one for many bettors. This was in fact gambling with training wheels. We all had a day one at some point, that had to be kept in mind. By the time I approached the window I had all my bets ready and was prepared to rapid fire through rotation numbers and my wagers. After each individual bet the gentleman behind the window would explain each bet to make sure I understood them. Each time I was told “sir, you are wagering x, to win y, do you understand.” This added considerable time to placing each wager, but I accept that it was done to protect the novice public.
With sufficient dollars wagered and/or an appropriate tip, one would expect free drinks tickets in a Las Vegas sports book. Having wagered and tipped a suitable amount, after completing my list of wagers, I politely asked if there were any drink tickets. This was met with a blank stare and no knowledge of what one was or why I would be asking for one. Not exactly “Vegas style betting”, but apparently it is against state law in Delaware to comp alcoholic beverages. Not a deal killer, but a notable difference.
Will I Return?
“Racebook with Sports Betting Windows”
I asked myself two questions as I was walking out. First, will this local availability change my frequency of trips to Las Vegas? Probably not, the legality of the action and symbolic nature were the significant benefits of this trip. Added value in lines offered was definitely a positive, but the sportsbook lacked excitement and ambiance and I’d prefer to hang out in a Vegas book. Delaware Park offered the ability to wager, but not the experience. Games were not being shown on the large screens. It was really a racebook with sports betting windows. It may be unfair to compare the two, but these are my options today and my criteria. Second, how soon would I return? I’ll set the over/under at one week.