Racetracks Handle Over $7 Million in Wagers in First 20 Days of Delaware Sports Betting

Posted on: July 4, 2018, 03:30h. 

Last updated on: July 4, 2018, 09:40h.

A total of $7,003,725 passed through Delaware’s brand-new sports books during the first 20 days of their full-scale sports betting operations in June.

Delaware sports betting
Delaware Governor John Carney contributed the first $20 to a pool a cash that would grow to more than $7 million within 20 days, as state residents lapped up their newfound freedom to wager. (Image: Fox News)

If they can keep that up, it’s the equivalent of generating over $127 million per year in handle — not bad for a tiny state when you consider the sports books of Las Vegas handled a record $248.8 million last year.

According to figures released Tuesday, net proceeds amounted to $875,216, after winners were paid more than $6 million. Among those winners was Delaware Governor John Carney, who placed the first ever legal single-game sports bet outside of Nevada, at Delaware Park, on June 5.

Handle with Care

Carney had $10 riding on the Philadelphia Phillies to beat the Chicago Cubs that evening, and he won – outshining his counterpart in New Jersey, Phil Murphy, whose $20 on Germany to win the World Cup a week later was apparently the kiss of death for the team.

As sports betting is gradually rolled out around the US, it will be interesting to see which governor proves to be the most profitable ceremonial sports bettor.

Carney will also no doubt be delighted that the state got to keep $437,609 of the total sports betting haul, leaving $352,256, or around 40 percent for the sports books.

A Tax That Isn’t

Delaware taxes sports betting highly – at 50 percent, although officials claim not to tax it at all. State lottery director Vernon Kirk told Legal Sports Report this week that “[the racetracks] are our partners and we revenue share.”

For sports betting at the casinos, after winners are paid, Scientific Games (system provider) receives 12.5 percent. From the remainder, the State share is 50 percent, the casinos get 40 percent, and ten percent goes to supplement horse racing purses,” explained Kirk.

While Delaware’s early numbers are good, there are serious concerns that the disproportionately high tax-that-isn’t will stymie the market. Sports betting is a small-margin business, and one that needs to be able to compete effectively against the un-taxed black market to thrive.

“States should focus on the consumer experience and empower licensed, regulated operators the ability to offer a competitive product that fosters betting in a safe way and shuts down the illegal market,” AGA senior vice president of public affairs Sara Slane told LSR. “High tax rates hinder the legal market’s ability to compete with shady, illegal operators that don’t pay taxes back to the state.”