Delaware might have pulled in front of New Jersey in the race to become the first to take advantage of the recent Supreme Court ruling and offer full-scale, legal sports betting.
Delaware governor John Carney said that state officials have found no legal obstacles preventing the state from expanding its current NFL parlay system and offering a complete menu of sports betting options, including professional and college sports.
“Following Monday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and consultation with the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, we are confident that Delaware has the legal and regulatory authority to authorize sports gaming in Delaware,” the department of finance said in a release on Thursday. “The Delaware Lottery has had plans in place for months, and we will begin training lottery and casino staff early next week. We will continue to provide public updates as we prepare to launch full-scale sports gaming in Delaware next month.”
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the federal ban on state-sponsored sports betting, was unconstitutional, opening a path for states to legalize sports betting. New Jersey was expected to be first to begin taking bets, but the state legislature wants to finalize new legislation before giving the green light to the racetracks and Atlantic City casinos.
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney told ESPN on Thursday that he believes the new legislation will be passed and sent to Gov. Phil Murphy for a signature on June 7.
“I think he can sign it right then and there,” Sweeney said.
Delaware also is targeting the first week of June. The state has offered parlays wagers on the NFL through its lottery since 2009. Roughly $46 million was bet on the NFL through the lottery in 2017. Experts believe that amount will be dwarfed by a full-blown sports betting product.
“We’re starting training next week,” state finance secretary Rick Geisenberger told DelawareOnline.com. “Our hope is to get that complete next week, and then it’s a question of testing software. But this will be a conversation with the casinos, and we’ll start when we’re read and they’re ready.”