Expected Boost to Economy
This was this loophole in - on the Delaware state books, that you could bet in this limited way on NFL games. And the Supreme Court ruling today means you can come in and bet on any sport you want.
How good is this going to be for business for you? How much do you stand to gain? Well, just to give you some perspective, in Nevada, which has been betting on sports for well over 50 years, sports-betting revenue only equals about 2 percent of their gaming revenue. I know this bill has caused a lot of excitement. But truth be told, it's still going to be only a small part of our business. The good thing is we already have our sportsbooks. And what does that mean?
For people who aren't in the habit of placing sports bets, in part because it hasn't been legal in most states until now, what does that mean, that you already have a sportsbook in place? Well, it's a separate facility that has big TV screens and then boards that produce all the games and the odds and the projected outcomes, all up on big electronic scoreboards. It also happens to be where we do our simulcast betting on horse racing. We are a racetrack. We do do harness racing six months out of the year.
So we have it set up to do sports betting as well as horse-racing bets both here and around the country. So it's been active.
I want to ask you just how welcome this additional income may be. And I asked that in New Jersey, where racetrack owners have talked about how they run their racetracks at a deficit, that they really need this income from sports betting in order to allow them to continue to operate.
Is that the case in Delaware? What they expect is perhaps not as much revenue from the actual sports betting as getting additional attendance at their facility. That's one thing that sports betting does too. And while they're here, they do other activities. So I think that it's not unusual for the tracks in New Jersey, as well as other tracks throughout the country, that they want anything they can get to drive more business to their facility.
For me, the only thing is that I had an exclusive here in Delaware for the past 10 years. Now - you know, 40 percent of my business came from out of state. The computer at the new, high-tech sports book at Dover Downs casino wouldn't accept his initial bet, so he had to wait a couple of minutes and try again.
Acting state finance secretary Tom Cook said opening the NFL season with a single Thursday night game worked to the state's advantage by allowing betting to begin slowly.
As of Thursday evening, no problems had been reported, although the betting traffic did not appear to be heavy. Under a federal appeals court ruling in a lawsuit brought by professional sports leagues and the NCAA, Delaware's sports betting is restricted to parlay, or multiple wagers on at least three NFL games.
A bettor must pick all the games correctly to win. Delaware officials were hoping to offer bets on single games and sports other than professional football, but the court said that went beyond what was allowed under the state's exemption to the federal ban on sports betting.
Delaware was exempted from the ban because it had previously conducted an NFL sports lottery in Brian Perry, 40, a warehouse logistics worker from Dover, was looking ahead to Sunday's games. Perry chose not to bet on his favorite team, the 49ers, because they are going up against the Arizona Cardinals and he didn't like the odds. Even though Delaware officials and casino operators are restricted to parlay, they are optimistic the betting will prove profitable.
Instead, the state lottery office, working with vendor Scientific Games, has come up with a variety of betting options, including "teaser" and "super teaser" parlay cards that offer bettors more favorable point spreads in return for lower payoffs. Gamblers also are allowed to forgo the preprinted parlay cards and wager "off the board," picking games at the last minute based on the most up-to-date point spreads.
For each wager, bettors must pick the correct outcomes of at least three NFL games, or as many as Since bets placed Thursday also require wagers on weekend games, gamblers won't know whether they've won or lost until Sunday or Monday. The state, on the other hand, knows that it can't do any worse than break even. Its contract with Scientific Games includes a provision indemnifying the state from incurring any losses.