Delaware Sports Betting Monopoly Remains As Bill To Expand Fails

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
Delaware Sports Betting Bill

Lawmakers presented a sports betting measure that would have expanded the sportsbook options in Delaware. Delaware is one of the few sports betting states that only offer a single mobile sportsbook for residents. BetRivers is the only operator in Delaware. The legislative session came to an end without the measure being picked up. This means the monopoly will remain in Delaware.

Delaware Session Ends With No New Sportsbooks Incoming

HB 365 aimed to expand the market to online sportsbooks instead of the current one. Sportsbooks would have been taxed at an 18% rate. Operators would have had to pay a $500,000 fee for an initial five-year license. Operators would also have been tasked with contributing 1.5% of their monthly adjusted gross sports lottery receipts to the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.

While the measure had interest from some lawmakers, it never gathered enough to truly pass. Instead, the measure lingered in the House and was never put to a vote. The measure was presented by Rep. William Bush. In April when the bill was presented, Rep. Bush said: “It’s important that Delaware remains competitive and responsive to the preferences of its residents.”

Prior to presenting the measure, the Internet Sports Lottery Legislative Working Group evaluated the betting landscape. Through their research, the bipartisan group recommended the expansion of the Delaware market.

Many of the bills sponsored cited consumer benefits for an expanded market. The bill’s prime Senate sponsor, Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, stated: “Regardless of whether we’re talking about consumer products or sportsbooks, the consumer benefits from healthy competition in the marketplace.”

The research of the Internet Sports Lottery Legislative Working Group and the bipartisan backing in both he House and Senate were not enough to see the measure be a success. However, locals can expect lawmakers to push for the expansion in the next legislative session as well.

Is The Delaware Sports Betting Monopoly Bad For Consumers?

Lawmakers presenting the HB 365 focused on consumers in their pitch to the House. A sports betting monopoly does, in fact, limit choices for local sports betting fans in Delaware. Locals are unable to line shop and are forced to accept any odds available at the single sportsbook. A monopoly also limits locals in terms of promo options available to them.

With there being just a single sportsbook in Delaware, consumers also have to deal with any user interface issues that may arise. If a local does not like the overall app experience in Delaware, there are no alternatives.

We have an example of a sports betting monopoly failing in Washington, D.C. GambetDC was the only option in D.C. since betting launched in the nation’s capital. The sportsbook was poorly received and motivated locals to travel out of the region to wager on other sportsbooks.

GambetDC was eventually replaced by FanDuel, and D.C. saw an immediate increase in betting activity. Lawmakers are now aiming to expand the betting market further in D.C. Lawmakers in Delaware are likely to continue their push to end the monopoly in the First State.

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