What You Need to Know About Sports Betting in Delaware
It is not inaccurate to say that sports betting has been around since humans started to compete against each other in athletic contests. In ancient Greece, people bet on discus throwing, wrestling, freestyle fights and long jumping in places like Olympus, Delphi and Corinth. The early Romans viewed gambling as a metaphor for life itself. As Romans spread throughout the world, their thirst for gambling proved to be nearly infectious in other cultures.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, people across national boundaries started betting on pedestrian contests, which were determined by how much time it would take a contestant to walk, run or hop to cover a certain distance. The distances that people had to cover increased in kind with the sizes of the wagers placed. The pedestrianism craze was so pervasive, it inspired Jules Verne’s 1872 novel “Around the World in 80 Days.”
At the end of the 19th century, many people started to concentrate their sports betting on professional team sports along with individual sports. As the new century dawned, betting on motorsports also gained in popularity.
Today, it is possible for willing gamblers to bet on just about any contest imaginable. From handball, mixed martial arts and bobsledding to basketball, horse races and every version of football — soccer, Futsal, American football, Gaelic football and many more — there is no shortage of sports events that people can lay bets on.
Sports Gambling Legalized in the United States
While people around the world have been able to bet on competitions of all sorts for centuries, sports betting has not always been and is not necessarily legal in every country. And the United States is not an exception in this regard.
Even if you are not a regular gambler, you may have heard a lot about sports betting in the United States. The Supreme Court made a historic decision in mid-May 2018, declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 to be unconstitutional.
What is the significance of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling? It means there is no longer a federal law that bans most forms of sports betting at every location throughout America except for Nevada. In other words, every state, including Delaware, is now free to decide for itself whether it will legalize sports betting within its borders.
Sports Gambling Legalized in Delaware: What Does It Mean for the First State?
If you are familiar with the Race & Sports Book at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, you may be wondering why the Supreme Court’s decision to remove the federal restriction against sports betting is such a big deal. If you are confused by the hoopla and fanfare, it is understandable because people have been able to bet on sports at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino Race & Sports Book for a while.
More accurately, gamblers have been able to engage in parlay wagering on NFL games in Delaware since 2009. Before that, Delaware attempted to clear the way for fully functioning sportsbooks in the state, but a three-judge panel acting on behalf of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit only opened the legal door far enough to allow parlay wagers on NFL games.
Parlay wagers are bets that require gamblers to choose the winner of at least three games on one ticket. The odds of turning over your money and winning a profit on an NFL parlay bet are only about seven to one.
The Delaware Lottery oversees gambling in the First State, including the gambling that takes place in casinos. In 2017, the lottery estimates NFL parlay bets generated a total of $46.4 million dollars. Of that money, $8.6 million went into the state’s coffers, $1.94 million was kept by the casinos operating in Delaware, $1.6 million went to retailers that sold NFL parlay tickets, and $1.15 million went to purse increases for the horsemen.
Now that Delaware has become the first state to legalize sports betting after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling, people can now place single-game bets and are no longer limited to NFL games. In fact, Governor John Carney was the person who placed the first legal, single-game wager in the First State when he bet $10 on the Phillies to defeat the Cubs at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino on June 5, 2018.
Some experts estimate that illegal gambling in the United States is a $50 to $150 billion industry. Now that placing sports bets in Delaware is an alternative to using bookies operating in back rooms and dark corners, the state may be able to siphon some action away from underground bet takers and attract sports bettors from neighboring states. Once online sports betting is completely implemented, the annual dollar amount of sports bets placed in Delaware may increase to $350 to $760 million, according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.
Sports Betting in Delaware
Delaware is home to three thriving casinos, each of which is now accepting sports bets. While legal sports betting is occurring at every casino based in Delaware these days, we invite you to visit Dover Downs Hotel & Casino so you can place your sports bets in our welcoming Race & Sports Book.
At this point, you might be wondering about the kind of sports you can bet on when you are in the First State. When you visit our location, you will see that you have an array of individual and team sports to choose from, including the following:
- Mixed Martial Arts
- Auto Racing
Types of Wagers in Sports Betting
Just like raises and calls are some of the kinds of bets you can make at the poker table, sports betting involves its own set of bet types. Here are the types of bets you can make on sports:
- Straight Bet: A straight bet is a wager that is placed on just one game, match, race or event. The outcome of a straight bet is determined by a point spread, money line or total.
- Parlay: As we explained earlier, a parlay is a single ticket that links multiple wagers. To win a parlay, you must win all of the bets included in the parlay. For example, if you bet on three football games, you will have had to pick the winner of all three matches for your parlay to win. If one of your wagers is a loser, you lose your entire parlay. If your parlay is a winner, you will earn a higher payout than you would have had you placed separate bets on the individual games included in your parlay.
- Future Bet: This type of bet is made on a contest that will not take place until a date that is normally far off in the future. An example of this type of bet is a wager placed on next year’s Super Bowl the day after this year’s game played out on the field.
- Proposition Wager: A proposition wager is often referred to as a “prop bet.” This kind of bet is placed on the outcome of events that occur during a given game or event. Betting on which team will score first in a basketball game and wagering on how many innings a given pitcher will last on the mound during an MLB game are examples of prop bets.
- Teaser Bet: A teaser wager is a bet in which the point spread is changed by points assigned to favor a select player during more than one football or basketball game. For wagers on football games, the point spread can be adjusted by 6.5, seven, 10 or 14 points. For bets placed on basketball games, the point spread can be changed by four, five or six-point teasers.
- Round Robin Wager: A round robin consists of a series of parlay bets. To explain that further, we will look at a three-team round robin wager. A three-team round robin includes a total of four bets, three two-team parlay wagers and one three-team parlay bet.
- Under Bet: An under bet is one in which you wager the total number of points scored by two teams will be lower than a given number.
- Over Wager: An over bet is a wager where you bet the total number of points scored by two opponents will be more than a given number.
Sports Betting Lingo
With sports betting only being fully legal in Delaware for a short while, it is not surprising that many people are not familiar with some of the lingo that is often used in this kind of betting. While that is understandable, it is not an excuse for not doing some homework before you step up to the betting window.
When you visit the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino Race & Sports Book, you will be impressed with how friendly and supportive our staff members and guests are. Our staff members will be happy to help you get the hang of sports betting, and many of our guests will be just as happy to explain things as well.
While help is always available in our Race & Sports Book, you can help yourself a bit before you even arrive on our doorstep by studying some of the terms you are sure to overhear as you spend time at our luxurious casino. Here are some of the terms you should familiarize yourself with:
- Book: While a library or the title of your favorite novel may spring to mind when you think of a book, the word “book” refers to something entirely different in sports betting. In the context of sports betting, book refers to an establishment that accepts bets placed on the outcomes of sporting events. Delaware currently has three books within its borders, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway.
- Point Spread: The point spread is commonly referred to as the “betting line.” The point spread is the range of points within which a favored team or competitor must win to cover the spread. The most common sports bets are based on the point spread. Wagers on the point spread are typically offered with 11 to 10 odds. For this reason, it is customary to place bets on the point spread in increments of $11.
- Buy: Buy is the additional money someone pays to gain a half-point or more in their favor in a game that is based on a point spread.
- Cover: Cover refers to winning by an amount that exceeds the point spread.
- Money Line: The money line refers to the odds that a given team will win without the use of a point spread. A money line is expressed using a number that consists of three digits. A money line of +160 means you will win $160 for every $100 you wager. If the money line is -160 instead, you will have to wager $160 for every $100 you hope to win.
- Puck Line: A puck line is used for bets placed on hockey games.
- Run Line: The run line is used for wagers placed on baseball games.
- Vigorish: Also known as the “vig” or “juice,” vigorish is the commission the book makes on the bets it accepts.
- Favorite: The favorite is the team or individual competitor considered most likely to prevail in a given contest. “Chalk” also refers to the favored team.
- Underdog: Also known as a “dog,” an underdog is the team that is expected to lose a given game, match, race or event based on the betting odds.
- Longshot: A longshot is the team that is considered highly unlikely to be victorious.
- Pick or Pick’ em: A pick or pick’ em is a match in which neither competitor is favored to win.
- Handle: The handle is the sum of the bets a book takes on a game or event.
- Limit: The limit is the most a book will accept before the odds, point spread or both are changed.
- Middle: The middle refers to instances in which bettors win on both the winning and losing sides of the same event using different point spreads. For example, if you bet on a longshot at +5 and a favorite at -4 ½, and the favorite wins by five, you will have “middled” the book and won both of your wagers.
- Dime: A bet made in the amount of $1,000.
- Nickel: A wager in the amount of $500.
- Off the Board: A contest for which the book is not accepting any wagers.
- Opening Line: The opening line is the initial line posted for a given sports match.
The thing to remember when it comes to sports betting is that it is okay to ask questions. If you are unsure what a given term means or you do not understand the nature of a bet, ask a more experienced gambler or the attendant at the betting window for an explanation. Even when they wager on opposite sides, sports bettors often share in each other’s losses and victories even if it is only for bragging rights, which generally makes them more than willing to help other people out.
The Basics of Sports Betting in a Casino
Now that you are familiar with some common sports betting terms and you know what to do if you are unsure about something, it is time to discuss the very basics of sports betting. The first thing you need to know is that the point spread will likely fluctuate as betting continues and the start time of a game gets closer.
While that is the case, the point spread that exists at the time you make a bet is fixed the moment you place your wager. The point spread that is listed when you make a bet will be printed on your ticket. The point spread on your ticket may differ from the opening or closing spread, but it is the only one that matters in the context of your specific wager.
The point spread you will see on an electronic display board and on wagering sheets will be presented next to the competitor favored to win. As you will see, the home team is always listed on the bottom unless the book specifies that is not the case. The money line is typically shown on the far right-hand side of the electronic display for each game.
Common Bets on Popular Sports
Certain kinds of bets are more common depending on the type of sport you are going to wager on. Here are some popular sports and the kinds of bets people often make on them:
- American Football: The easiest way to bet on an American football game is to place a straight bet on the outcome. If you are going to bet on an NFL or collegiate game, you can also place bets on the money line. First half, halftime and teaser bets are common on football games, too. Parlay bets on football games can be a great way to win a lot of money for a relatively small investment, but they require you to pick the winners of several games on a single parlay card that represents one bet that rides on multiple outcomes.
- Basketball: Betting on basketball is quite similar to the sports betting that takes place on football games. Bets made against the point spread are normally the most popular, but parlays and teaser wagers are far from uncommon.
- Baseball: Baseball betting is based on a money line, which involves laying or taking odds. The odds are expressed using a three-digit money line, which is always based on $100. The “-“ symbol you will see on the display next to a starting pitcher’s name indicates the favorite while a “+” sign is used to identify the underdog. Parlays, prop bets such as alternate and reverse run lines, listed pitcher bets and five-inning wagers are common in sports betting on baseball.
- Hockey: As it is for baseball, sports betting on hockey is based on a money line. The minus sign listed next to a team on an electronic display indicates the favorite while a plus sign is used to earmark the underdog. If a game winds up in a shootout, the winner is given credit for one goal, which is factored into the game’s final total. Puck line betting is common for hockey games and it allows you to lay 1 ½ goals with a favorite at higher odds or take 1 ½ goals with an underdog at lesser odds.
- Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts: A money line is used for bets made on boxing and MMA matches. For some ordinary matches, you might have the option of betting on whether a given contest will last the full number of rounds the contest is scheduled to continue through. For bigger matches, a broader range of wagers is often available, which may include prop bets such as the round in which the match will end and how a competitor will win the contest.
- Soccer: Three-way and two-way wagers are normally allowed for soccer games. You can also bet on the point spread. When it comes to soccer, it is important to remember that only the action that takes place in the main 90-minute period is considered when determining the winners and losers of sports bets. This means extra time periods are not factored into the calculation of winning and losing bets.
Visit the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino Race & Sports Book
If you are ready to try your hand at sports betting, we encourage you to visit our Race & Sports Book. Better yet, book a room in our luxurious hotel and spend several days with us. Whether you are new to sports betting or you are a veteran, you will enjoy every moment you spend at our breathtaking, inviting property.
Contact Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and book a stay today.