DE sports betting produces mixed midseason results

    Delaware’s foray into sports betting looks like a “push” as the NFL season reaches its midway point. While interest in Delaware NFL parlay bets continues to grow, some big payouts have hurt the state’s bottom line.

    Delaware’s foray into sports betting looks like a “push” as the NFL season reaches its midway point.   While interest in Delaware NFL parlay bets continues to grow, one bad weekend hurt the state’s bottom line.

    Through week 9 of the season, Delaware is still seeing growth in the number of bets and money wagered on its three NFL parlay games.

    “We knew this was something that wasn’t going to be a overnight success.” said Delaware’s Acting Finance Director Tom Cook. “We had to grow the business and that’s what’s happened so far. Week after week, the number of wagers and the amount wagered increases.”

    This past week, Week 9, saw Delaware set new records for wagers placed and money bet at its three racinos, Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway.

    Bettors placed 49,314 bets, up from 46,255 in week 8 and more than triple the 14,206 bets placed in the first week of the season.

    The amount of money wagered has increased each week of the season, reaching $672,611 last week.  That’s a 3% increase from week 8 and a 167% increase from the first week of the season.

    “The numbers speak for themselves.  There’s a demand for this type of entertainment on the East Coast,” Cook said.

    But demand may not translate into huge revenues. Through October 25th, Delaware’s sports betting venture had netted just over $491,000 for the state, an average of just over $61,000 per week.  But the payouts for week 7 were not included in those figures, and that week saw 11 of 13 favorites win and cover the spread, leading to huge payouts to winners.

    The state has yet to reveal the hit it took that week.  Cook says the official numbers won’t be made available until the end of the next monthly cycle, November 29th, but he still predicts Delaware will  reap some revenue by the end of the season.

    “The current DEFAC (Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council)  estimate is only $500,000 that would be generated strictly from the sports lottery, excluding the crossover play to video lottery.  I think we’ll surpass that easily.”  said Cook.

    And Cook adds there is some evidence of crossover.  Before sports betting began in September, slots and other video lottery revenues were down nearly six percent.  With sports betting, slots revenue is off  just over two percent, cutting the year to date losses to four and a quarter percent.

    “Places like Atlantic City currently, right now, are down 14%.  By really having the sports lottery in our toolbox, it’s done what its supposed to do and that is to increase the foot traffic into the racinos, which in turn has translated into softening the blow from the downturn in the economy.” Cook said.

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