Delaware generates $1M in revenue in first month of sports betting

Delaware's first month offering full-scale sports betting exceeded the state's expectations and resulted in approximately $1 million in revenue off of more than $7 million wagered in June, according to recently released revenue numbers.

Delaware was the first state to begin offering sports betting after the United States Supreme Court ruled in May that the federal ban on state-sponsored sports betting was unconstitutional.

Delaware's three racetracks and casinos began offering sports betting through the state lottery on June 5, just three weeks after the Supreme Court's ruling.

From June 5 to June 24, when the revenue numbers were reported to officials, nearly 70,000 wagers for a total of just over $7 million were made at Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway. Bettors won a little more than $6 million, leaving the state with the $1 million in revenue.

During that three-week stretch, Delaware sportsbooks have a hold percentage -- the amount the house keeps of the amount wagered -- of better than 14 percent. In comparison, Nevada sportsbooks' hold percentage has been 5.5 percent since 1992.

In Delaware, futures bets, for example, on the odds to win the Super Bowl, that were placed in June are included in the amount wagered, which does create a slightly higher win percentage, but not by much, Kirk said.

"We were pleasantly surprised," said Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk. "I'm cautiously optimistic, but check back with me when football season starts. No matter how you look at it, we have a good first few weeks, but I'd be surprised if it stayed that strong."

Kirk said baseball accounted for 75 percent of the money wagered, with the World Cup (10 percent) and NBA Finals (8 percent) the next most popular events to bet during June.

Delaware had been offering parlay wagering on the NFL for the previous nine years and has made a smooth transition to full-scale sports wagering, Kirk said.

"We didn't quite expect the number of customers who were interested in the NBA Finals games," Kirk said. "It caught us a little off guard. Too many customers, that's a good problem to have, though."