he Delaware Lottery Commission is reporting that $7 million was wagered on sports at the state’s three racetracks from June 5 through June 24 and that the total revenue from the sports wagering was $1,000,247.
June 5 is the day sports betting began and June 24 is the final day of the fiscal month.
Sports betting is available at three Delaware tracks, Delaware Park and the harness tracks Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway. Delaware was the first state to offer sports betting after the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
Delaware bettors either had a particularly unlucky month or aren’t particularly savvy sports handicappers. They lost 14% of all money wagered. Traditionally, sports bettors in Nevada lose about 5 to 6% of their total handle.
After the state and the companies operating the sports books took their share, $352,256 was left over. Delaware Park, which easily outhandled both harness tracks, took in $263,924 in revenue and $62,715 was added to the purse account. There were 50,934 individual wagers made during the 20-day period at Delaware.
“Any time we can add any money to our purse account we are happy,” said Bessie Gruwell, the executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “I’m glad that this started when it did, at a time when there aren’t a lot of sports to bet on, because they have some kinks to work out. They shut down at 11 p.m., so they had to, on one occasion, turn everyone away in the middle of one of the NBA finals game. There’s also been long lines. But, hopefully, they should have everything working much better by the time the NFL and college football games start. If they do, and with the popularity of those sports, I would imagine that $62,000 figure would grow quite a bit.”
Delaware is the only state that has legalized sports betting where the tracks are required to contribute a portion of the profits to purses.
Prior to the Supreme Court decision, Delaware already had legal parlay style bets on NFL games, and the “win” on those bets is typically around 30%. Some worried that single game wagering would cut into the parlay bets and might actually cause the tracks to lose revenue. But the total revenue on the parlay bets in 2017 was $4.8 million. Based on the June results, the annual revenue for more traditional sports bets will be far greater than what the tracks were bringing in on the parlay wagers.
Monmouth Park launched sports betting June 14. So far no handle figures have been made available by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Though the sample size is a small one, there is evidence that some sports bettors may also be playing the horses. Since sports betting began, there have been seven cards at Monmouth when racing was held on the same day the prior year. During those seven days, total on-track handle has been $3,742,569. In 2017, the number for the same seven days was $3,097,837. That’s an 11.3% increase.
The next track to open a sports book will be the Meadowlands, which is set to launch July 14. The North Jersey track moved up the opening date by a day. The Meadowlands decided on July 14 because it is the night of the Meadowlands Pace, one of the track’s signature races.