New York (AFP) – Delaware on Tuesday became the first US state to join Nevada in allowing sports betting, thanks to a Supreme Court decision allowing states to lift a 25-year-old federal ban.
It was New Jersey that appealed to the Supreme Court on the matter, and sports betting could be legalized there by the end of the week.
But the small northeastern state of Delaware enjoyed a head start on catching up with Nevada and its flagship city Las Vegas — until now the only place to offer sports betting.
Delaware was afforded a partial federal exemption from the 1992 ban, and as a result there is already some sports betting legislation in place, speeding up the implementation process.
On Tuesday, the state launched “SportsPick” in partnership with its lottery, allowing betting on football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, motor racing and golf.
Only the state’s three casinos can offer such gambling, in partnership with British betting giant William Hill.
To mark the event, the state’s Democratic governor, John Carney, visited Dover Downs casino to place a $10 bet on the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team — one of the closest teams to Delaware, which is not represented in any of the four major sports leagues.
“This is really about bringing visitors to our state,” Carney said. “Giving them things to do when they are here.”
“Today, we embark on an era hopefully where instead of betting with illegal bookies, people can bet with legal sports betting companies when the state pass legislation to enable it,” CEO of William Hill US, Joe Asher, told Fox Business.
Aside from New Jersey, several states could implement measures to allow sports betting by the end of the summer — including Mississippi and West Virginia.
The US market could attract between $50 and $60 billion dollars in bids, according to researchers at Eilers and Krejcik — with an estimated $6 billion industry turnover in 2023.