Plans for Delaware Online Sports Betting Have Been Put on Pause

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 13, 2023 12:00 AM
After much consideration, plans to roll out Delaware online sports betting have been put on hold.

Well, it seems online sports betting in Delaware will have to wait another year. And that's at the very least.

Lawmakers began discussing the addition of online sports betting to the state's lottery portfolio this past winter. Based on everything we know, they seemed pretty serious about the measure.

In the end, though, Delaware did not sign off on mobile sports betting. State residents will still have the ability to wager in-person at one of Delaware's three retail locations, but they'll have to wait a little longer for online operations to arrive.

Just how serious was The Small Wonder state about adding online sports betting to their lottery operations? And why didn't the proposal ultimately pass? We get into all the nitty-gritty details below.

Delaware Seemed to be Taking the Issue of Online Sports Betting Very Seriously

Delaware was the first state to legalize in-person sports betting when the federal government overturned previous gambling precedent all the way back in 2018. Given how quickly they acted on brick-and-mortar opportunities, their decision to steer clear of online sports betting has been curious. That's especially true now. Twenty-five states have legalized some form of online sports betting in the United States, according to Action Network. You'd expect one of the first places to green light in-person gambling to be a part of that group.

Yet, Delaware has largely avoided or danced around the subject. That is, until the start of this year. As J.R. Duren of PlayUSA recently explained, the state traveled great lengths to consider the addition of online sports betting:

"Earlier this year, the Delaware General Assembly approved the formation of the Internet Sports Lottery Legislative Working Group. The group is made up of four lawmakers [and focused on] two objectives: Evaluating Delaware’s sports betting framework, and evaluating the mobile sports betting markets in other states, particularly Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. As part of that second objective, the group met this month. During its meeting, it heard from stakeholders including the Sports Betting Alliance’s Jon Mandel and John Pappas, a public affairs and government relations expert at geolocation firm GeoComply, according to Delaware Public Media (DPM)."

States don't set up specific committees if they're not serious about reworking certain policies. This suggests Delaware was extremely close to the legalization of online sports betting.

Granted, we still can't be entirely sure. Not much has come out about the state's decision. The prevailing consensus is they didn't believe there'd be enough interest or revenue involved. But is that accurate?

Delaware Gamblers Have Proven Interest in Online Sports Betting

To be brutally honest, Delaware online sports betting was always going to incite the "There's not enough interest" argument. That happens in smaller markets. And Delaware's market is almost as small as they come. They rank 45th out of 50 states in total population, according to World Population Review. What's more, they also aren't home to any professional sports franchises.

Still, Delaware is within close proximity to a number of larger sports markets—namely Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. That matters. It means they have vested interests in both pro franchises and collegiate programs across multiple major markets. That, in turn, implies plenty of interest in sports betting.

John Pappas from the Sports Betting Alliance made this same argument on behalf of the committee attempting to legalize online sports betting in Delaware, noting that residents attempted to place "four million mobile sports bets during the NFL season" alone. He also added the following, according to PlayUSA:

  • The 4 million attempts came from around 112,000 sports betting accounts
  • 11,424 people traveled out of Delaware to make a sports bet in neighboring states this past year
  • 234 people traveled across state lines to bet on the 2023 Super Bowl

These numbers show a direct interest in online sports betting. And they are only going to climb, particularly when looking at the 112,000 accounts that tried to place a mobile wager during the latest NFL season. Online sports betting has never been more accessible. There are plenty of reputable offshore sites that will allow almost anyone in the United States to create an account, including those that appear in our reviews of the best online sportsbooks. If 100,000-plus Delaware residents are attempting to use domestic online sportsbooks, you better believe a bunch of them are taking advantage of the most popular workaround among those who live in states without legal sports betting.

Online Sports Betting in Delaware May be Delayed, But It Remains Inevitable

We won't predict an official launch date for Delaware online sports betting. But we do believe it's inevitable. When looking at how much money the state has made off in-person gambling, it's the only reasonable conclusion to reach.

On-site sports betting in Delaware has been live for nearly five years to the day. In that time, the state has earned roughly $13.1 million in additional revenue each year. 

Adding online options to the fold should only increase that margin. It may not beget exponential growth, but it will, without question, open up the market. At the very least, it should protect Delaware sports betting against potential struggles.

The state recently saw their monthly sports betting handle slump toward an all-time low. Could this be attributed to residents placing bets with top online sportsbooks outside Delaware? Nobody can say for certain. But it definitely wouldn't hurt for the state to broaden their horizons if they've potentially maxed out their on-site sports betting market.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs:

  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS
    Bovada
    4.2/5
    50% bonus up to $250
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetOnline
    3.7/5
    100% bonus up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS
    BetUS
    125% up to $2,500
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Xbet
    $500 Sign-up Bonus
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetNow
    4.2/5
    100% up to $1,000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • MyBookie
    50% bonus up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Bookmaker
    100% up to $400
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • Sportsbetting
    3.6/5
    50% up to $1000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • EveryGame
    $500 Sign Up Bonus
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • WagerWeb
    3.5/5
    100% up to $1,000
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetDSI
    3.3/5
    100% up to $500 + $500 at BetDsi's Casino
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

  • BetNow
    4.3/5
    100% up to $450
    No Code Needed
    Play Now

    T&C apply, 18+, Play responsibly

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

Online Sports Betting may receive compensation if you sign up through our links. Rest assured, we avoid biases and provide honest opinions on sportsbooks. Read our affiliate disclosure here.