Delaware Sports Betting Laws

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On May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) as unconstitutional, allowing states to offer legal sports betting—including Delaware.

Just less a month later, the state’s three casinos—Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway & Casino—opened sportsbooks to begin taking sports bets.

How PASPA Affected Sports Betting in DE Before 2018

Congress enacted PASPA in 1992, making it illegal for states and private organizations to “sponsor, operate, advertise, or promote” wagering on competitive games involving professional or amateur athletes. 

The PASPA didn’t block all sports wagering in Delaware, however. Section 3704 of the law allowed existing sports betting operations in states to continue to operate. 

The Delaware Lottery offered NFL parlay cards starting in 1976. Though the cards were ultimately discontinued after the first year, the law allowing them remained intact, meaning they would be still allowed after PASPA passed.

This is why the Delaware Lottery was allowed to begin offering parlay cards again in the 2000s.

In 2009, Delaware’s government attempted to pass a law that would allow full-scale sports betting in the state. The U.S. Third Court of Appeals ruled that Delaware was only permitted to offer types of sports betting that were offered before PASPA passed (the parlay cards).

How New Jersey Got PASPA Overturned

New Jersey began fighting to get PASPA overturned or to circumvent starting in 2011. In August 2016, the U.S. Third Court of Appeals ruled that NJ didn’t have the authority to offers sports betting due to the law.

All hope was not lost, though.

In June 2017, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Chris Christie and the state of New Jersey about the legality of PASPA. Just under a year later, on May 4, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional in a 6-3 vote. 

With PASPA being overturned, states began plans to start offering single-game sports betting, with Delaware being the first state (fitting, right?) to do so.

Delaware Sports Betting Rules & Limits

Delaware now offers Vegas-style sports betting including single-game pets, parlays,  teasers, futures, and more. That doesn’t mean, however, that Delaware doesn’t have any rules or limits in place. You can see the full list of rules here, but the following are some highlights to know about:

  • Age. To start, you must be 21 or older to bet in Delaware.
  • Teams you can bet on. You can bet on all professional sports teams and most college teams. Betting on Delaware-based teams (such as the University of Delaware) and high schools is not allowed.
  • Restricted bets. While there aren’t many specific rules about which bets are not allowed, the Delaware Lottery has the power to reject any wager and can determine minimum and maximum limits at any time.
  • Lost, stolen, altered, or unreadable tickets. Any tickets that fit into one of these categories are void.
  • Where you can claim winnings. You can claim your winnings at any of the three sportsbooks in Delaware or by mailing your ticket to the Delaware State Lottery (1575 McKee Road, Suite 102, Dover, DE 19904). 
  • Unclaimed tickets over one year old. You have one year from the conclusion of the game(s) you bet on to claim your winnings. After this time, the wager is void and no winnings can be collected.
  • Payout timing. Payouts of over $10,000 may be delayed until the next regular banking day. All other payouts are allowed on the same-day as the bet as long as the sportsbook is open. 
  • Appeals. If you don’t agree with the ruling of one of the sportsbooks, you can submit a written appeal to the Delaware Lottery, which will make the final ruling.
  • Online betting. Though online sports betting is not illegal in Delaware, there is currently no way to do so. Learn why and when it may be offered in our Online Sports Betting in Delaware Guide.

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