State could see full sports betting by end of June

Online betting remains a question mark?


Gov. John Carney announced on Monday that full sports betting could become available in Delaware by the end of June.

“We continue to review details of today’s opinion. But when the Supreme Court took this case last year, the Delaware Lottery began preparing for the possibility that the court could overturn the federalProfessional and Amateur Sports Protection Act,” Carney stated.

The decision by the high court was released on Monday morning.

New Jersey had been waging a long legal battle in an effort to gain full legalization of sports betting. Only Nevada was grandfathered in after the passage of the sports act. Delaware offers limited sports betting through multi-game parlays. The system genertated only modest revenues for the state and casinos.

Other states, such as Pennsylvania, have made legal and other preparations for sports betting.

“In the coming days, the lottery office will consult with the Delaware Attorney General’s Office to more fully understand the details and impact of this decision on Delaware. Specifically, we will be looking at whether the opinion allows Delaware to offer full-scale sports gaming beyond parlay betting on National Football League games that was reinstituted in 2009,” Carney noted.

Carney went on to state that “we believe that Delaware likely already has all necessary laws and regulations in place to implement full-scale sports gaming under the direction of the Delaware Lottery.”

Frank Fantini, owner of Fantini Research– a Dover-based publishing, research and consulting firm covering the gaming industry – reportedthat the “impact on Delaware casinos might be relatively small considering the state’s small size in population and geographically. However, it would definitely be a plus for operators in a state where they suffer punishingly high tax rates.”

Fantini is referring to the Delaware revenue sharing formula that is among the highest in the nation.

Frantini noted that the court’s ruling amounts to a “sweeping decision. Many had expected a narrower decision, but this opens the gates to full sports betting.”

The decision will allow for Congress to set national policy on sports betting, according to Fantini.

“This is something the industry wants as there are numerous complications and questions if each state has its own rules, and even a question of how practical it would be for small states to effectively have full sports betting,” Fantini stated.

One question mark is online betting.

“If limited to casino properties, sports betting will be a nice amenity that draws more customers to the properties, but not a windfall. Look at Nevada, as an example. Sports betting represents just 2.6 percent of gaming revenues,” Fantini stated. “However, if betting is allowed online, the opportunity is many times larger. British bookmaker William Hill, which offers sport betting online, did £617 million in sports betting last year, which is $840 million if I have the currency translation right. That compares to just $258 million for all of Nevada in the 12 months through March.”

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