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Delaware Introduces Sports Betting as New York Hesitates

Starting Stalls at Delaware Racetrack
Credit: Calstanhope, Wikimedia Commons

If you were planning on taking a trip to the US to relax, unwind and enjoy a few bets, the chances are that Las Vegas would have been your automatic destination of choice.

But after the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the 1992 PASPA ruling, which essentially outlawed sports betting in the USA (outside of Nevada, anyway), quite a few states have been getting their house in order as they prepare to accept bets in the near future.

One of the first movers has been Delaware, the so-called Diamond state on the east coast. Anticipating competition from neighbours New Jersey, politicians have already passed their own state-wide gambling bill that will see a trio of casinos accept sports bet from Tuesday onwards.

It’s a major move, and Delaware look to be the first cab off the rank in an arms race for a market that is expected to be worth $20 billion within a couple of years.

But New York, a hugely populous state that you would expect to benefit more than most from the legalisation of sports betting, is currently dallying with their decision, with just eleven days left until the closing of the current legislative session.

Prime Movers

Delaware have always been rather open-minded about sports betting, and that dates back to the introduction of an exemption law that enabled casinos in the state to accept parlay bets on American football despite the laws set out by the PASPA act.

Now, with sports betting rolled out state-wide, punters can have single bets on the NFL as they wish, while having a flutter on the basketball, ice hockey, baseball, ‘soccer’, golf and a whole bunch of other sports.

New Jersey are expected to follow within the next couple of weeks, while other states set to follow Delaware’s lead in the coming months include West Virginia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania.

It is believed that up to 32 individual states will legalise sports betting within the next five years, with William Hill USA’s chief executive, Joe Asher, declaring that“….the US is going to be the biggest sports betting market in the world.”

NYC to Wait and See

There are just eleven working days left for lawmakers in New York City to pass sports betting legislation in time for the summer.

The latest legislative session ends on June 20, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned that a deal won’t be forced through until all parties are satisfied and a decisive vote is cast.

Racing Committee chairman John Bonacic has formalised a bill, supported by the Republican-led Senate, that would legalise mobile sports betting and allow ‘high street’ facilities other than licenced casinos to accept wagers.

The proposed regulations would tax operators up to 8.5% of their revenue, with 0.25% going to sports leagues – decision they support. Major League Baseball’s senior vice president, Morgan Sword, said that ‘we no longer have control over whether there will be sports betting or not’. “We are trying to operate the best we can in a world with widespread sports betting,” he added.