At this time last year, the odds of New Jersey winning its sports betting case were about as good as the Browns making the Super Bowl. But on Tuesday, you could have joined the delusionally giddy Darren Rovell of ESPN in legally placing an ill-advised wager on the latter.
Yes, outside of Vegas. And no, not in New Jersey either. Would you believe… Delaware?
Unlikely politician-notorious handicapper duo cut the ribbon
The First State fittingly became the first state to offer legalized single-game wagering outside of Nevada on Tuesday afternoon. The door to that possibility was opened when the SCOTUS struck down PASPA in Murphy vs. NCAA on May 14.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., the sportsbook at Delaware’s Dover Downs track took a $10 wager from Governor John Carney on the Phillies to defeat the Cubs that evening. With it, the ribbon was officially cut on single-game sports betting outside of Nevada.
Ironically, the first bet placed by a “regular citizen” – and we’re using that term loosely in this case – came from a guy who’d probably make for a much better fit in today’s political climate than the buttoned-up governor — legendary, eardrum-busting Stu Feiner.
For the uninitiated (and given his …uh…outgoing personality, that probably doesn’t constitute a very large group), Feiner (pictured above) is a colorful handicapper who’s proudly offered betting tips in five-figure decibels and playfully (we think) encouraged would-be customers to mortgage their homes and use their children as collateral to put cash down on surefire winners for decades.
You can hear Feiner cheering over everyone after the Governor placed his +200 bet below.
Solid six-figure returns on first day
The overall take was certainly respectable when considering that major-league baseball – the one major sport in the midst of its regular season — only had a five-game slate available. Additionally, the state’s threshold of any single-game bet of over $1,000 requiring approval from the risk manager may have helped cap the total haul to an extent.
Early bettors make sharp wagers
When he wasn’t engaging in the sports betting equivalent of chasing rainbows and unicorns, Rovell was busy memorializing a couple of other first-time bettors on his Twitter feed.
Current Dover resident Karriem Keys was one. The 53-year-old went back to his Manhattan roots in putting $10 at 5-to-1 odds for the Yankees to win this year’s World Series.
No word on whether Rovell – who reported that the ticket writer couldn’t quite contain himself while processing his Browns bet – needled Keys about placing such a chalky wager.
He also spotlighted the aptly-named @boygotswag, who added a few extra bucks to his pocket with which to further legitimize his Twitter handle. The Delaware resident presciently plunked down $20 on the Cavs to have the halftime lead in Wednesday’s Game 3, and he correctly tabbed the Nationals to win over the Rays by at least two runs Tuesday.
Familiar face gets in on the fun
And incidentally, Rovell wasn’t the only sports betting media luminary spending a few bucks during Delaware’s coming-out party.
Esteemed Legal Sports Report scribe Eric Ramsey may not have tickled his ticket writer’s funny bone with his -105 bet on the Yankees as 1.5-run favorites over the Blue Jays, but he’d secured a decent little payday by night’s end.
After all, why let those four-letter network guys have all the fun (and big bucks), right?