5 Ways Delaware's Sports Betting Laws Have Evolved

5 Ways Delaware's Sports Betting Laws Have Evolved


5 Ways Delaware's Sports Betting Laws Have Evolved


Although Delaware betting is not often discussed, this doesn’t mean that the practice is not widespread in the state. Rather, the slow and steady way these laws have evolved made so that few can notice that something dramatic has happened.

Currently, there are five ways of gambling and betting that are available to the residents of Delaware:

  1. Horse Race Betting
  2. Online Gambling
  3. Casino Gambling
  4. Poker
  5. Lottery

Additionally, it is specified that charitable gaming, regardless of the type, is permissible inside the state. But, social gambling for no charitable reason may not be permissible and is not specified in the law, leaving it neither here nor there.

Finally, there are some specifics that seem strange in a state with such a long history in both sports and gambling. Namely, Daily Fantasy Sports are deemed illegal and can’t be played inside the state.

Nov 7, 2020; Lexington, KY, USA; Horses race in the Filly & Mare race during the 37th Breeders Cup World Championship at Keeneland Race Track. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Delaware’s Sports Betting is Illegal, Except

Gamblers reading the Delaware laws on gambling and sports betting might get discouraged in the very beginning, as it describes all forms of such entertainment as illegal. But, after that, there are a slew of exceptions that casinos, racetracks, and other establishments have used to run their business.

Additionally, by the State Statute, it is also illegal to keep private bets or make your own slot machines, which is creating issues for local online slots developers as they are technically breaking the law if not doing it on the premises where the authorities have allowed the practice.

With information from Betting.us, we know Delaware sports betting is also on the rise and there are a number of operators working with both local legal sportsbooks and online options. There is quite a bit to choose from in this regard.

Although betting started from the race tracks with betting on horses, it is now fully present when it comes to betting on a whole range of other sports. NFL, NBA, and MLB are maybe the most dominant but are far from being the only ones.

Ironically, the betting industry is present when it comes to betting on team performance, but not on singular players. Due to fears of increased youth gambling, the legislator didn’t allow any DFS, or Daily Fantasy Sports, operators to offer their services to Delaware residents.

History of Racetracks

Nov 7, 2020; Lexington, KY, USA; Whitmore with Irad Ortiz, Jr. up wins the Breeders’ Cup Sprint race during the 37th Breeders Cup World Championship at Keeneland Race Track. Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

One of the things that were legal in Delaware since pretty much always has been horse racing. The practice is rarely even seen as gambling, but more as a social event that gathers people to the tracks.

When these tracks became in danger of closing down, the authorities assisted by passing down a law. It allowed additional games like slot machines and even casino games to be added to the tracks to help these establishments.

That way since the 1980’s the gambling options around race tracks have been expanding to become full-flagged casinos.

Now, all three of Delaware’s casinos are so-called ‘’racinos’’ as they are built around a race track. These establishments offer the same services as any casino but also have the capability for guests to observe horse races.

Allowing Online Operations

Delaware is the first state to allow online casino gaming, signing it into law in the summer of 2012. This law also prevents any offshore operators from being allowed to function inside state lines without a local license.

This has proven to be the right move and Delaware as an early adopter of the method has reaped significant benefits when it comes to local tax revenue. 

And, while there are probably some that still play offshore via a VPN, most Delawareans prefer to use the local operators. This way of betting is significantly safer and has a set of player protections that might not be available when playing on a foreign platform.

Additionally, most sportsbooks that are available in brick and mortar establishments are now also available online. For those who like to bet on a variety of sports or would want to put their money where their mouth is when supporting the Philly Eagles, it is a great way to do so quickly.

Daily Fantasy Sports Yet to be Legalized

The unwillingness of the local legislation to allow DFS might seem like a strange turn of events, but the arguments under it are relatively reasonable.

While sports betting is allowed, there is the idea that DFS is more akin to online video games and loot boxes than to regular betting, even though it is not strictly chance-based. It might also impact the youth more than anyone else.

It is possible that with new information coming from neighboring Pennsylvania that doesn’t show any devastation because of them allowing this kind of entertainment, Delaware too will evolve its laws to allow Daily Fantasy Sports.

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