How It Felt To Book Delaware’s First Sports Bet | Forbes

It’s been a few days, but last week I wrote something for Forbes about Joe Asher and Delaware’s first single-game sports bet:

In the wake of PASPA’s repeal, many states have made their intentions to start taking legal bets clear. But Delaware was the first to act on its intentions. But it’s been a long struggle to taking that first bet, something that William Hill US CEO Joe Asher, who started in the betting business at Wilmington’s Brandywine Raceway at the age of 16, knows better than anybody.

Read more: How It Felt To Book Delaware’s First Sports Bet

Quite a story, to say the least.

For Online Gaming, Slow and Steady’s Just Right | Vegas Seven

In this weeks’ Green Felt Journal, I consider whether a “slow” rollout of online gaming in the U.S. is such a bad thing:

Beyond the neon of Nevada and Atlantic City, gaming used to be something the nation spoke about in either whispers like that cousin who never made good or screams like that cousin who never made good and was coming to town to spoil your sister’s wedding. Now, though, online gaming is the subject of serious—and generally calm—discussion. Some bemoan its potential negative effects; others lament the meager trickle of revenues to date. Still others offer both, seemingly contradictory, reactions. But the real news is that there hasn’t been much to either complain or crow about: The rollout of online play has been largely uneventful—and that’s a good thing.

via For Online Gaming, Slow and Steady’s Just Right | Vegas Seven.

The fact that online gaming has been running in the U.S. for over a year–even at a small scale–is, I think, a pretty interesting story.

Delaware starts table games

Table games are about to arrive in Delaware. From CBS-3:

Gambling on table games begins this week at the first of Delaware’;s three racetrack-casinos.Low-limit test games begin Monday at Harrington Raceway & Casino, and the casino plans to go live with table gaming Friday for the start of the Memorial Day weekend, pending final approval from state inspectors.Dover Downs and Delaware Park also plan to begin offering table games such as poker in a few weeks.

Table games are being viewed as a boost for casinos competing with operations in bordering states, including Pennsylvania where table games begin this summer, and New Jersey’s Atlantic City. They are also expected to increase tax revenues to help Delaware balance its budget.

via Table Gaming Begins This Week In Delaware Casinos – cbs3.com.

I’d like to know what Atlantic City casinos have done to prepare for this. Increased marketing to Delaware patrons? Cut their losses and stopped marketing to Delaware at all?

Atlantic City casinos need to confront the reality of table game competition, since Pennsylvania will be joining in a few months. So whether it’s rule changes to make games more player-friendly, lower minimums, or friendlier dealers, Atlantic City casinos need to establish a competitive advantage in some way that will make gamblers drive that extra hour (or further) to play there.

Dealer training in Delaware

A reminder that creating a casino industry isn’t just about waving the money wand and watching the dollars pour in. From the New Journal:

Before the first hand of blackjack, the first spin of a roulette wheel or the first wager at a craps table can happen at Delaware's casinos, an estimated 800 people need to be trained to preside over the games.

They also need to learn how to watch out for cheaters and keep an eye on the millions of dollars expected to move in and out of the gambling centers each year.

The deadline to build a qualified corps of dealers, floormen, pit managers, regulators and security officers was extended after state officials ruled out a special legislative session to approve rules for casino table games.

via Table Games 101 on the way | Delawareonline.com | The News Journal.

Interesting revelation on page 2: you don’t need good math skills to be a dealer. I have a feeling that the “tricks” the director of the Casino Career Institute mentioned are just learning the payouts for blackjack by rote. I know that’s how many people do it, and it probably covers 95% of all decisions.

Also, if you make it all the way to the third page, you’ll read a personal confession from yours truly about the relative difficulty of getting into graduate school and getting a casino job.

NBA and Delaware

Interesting editorial piece about the hypocrisy of the major US sports leagues when it comes to gambling from the KC Star:

Late last week, the four major professional sports leagues NBA, MLB, NFL and the NHL, along with the NCAA, filed a complaint against the state of Delaware in federal court in Wilmington, seeking to stop the state from offering single-game betting on pro and college games.

The leagues and the NCAA assert that the state's recently-announced decision to offer single-game betting as part of the 2009 Delaware Sports Lottery violates federal law.

To the rest of the world, Delaware is known as one of the 13 original states to participate in the American Revolution and the first to ratify the Constitution of the United States. To those of us who live within driving distance, it's the home of tax-free shopping.

In corporate America, despite its diminutive size, the state is a true heavyweight, loved for its friendly laws designed to lure big business. In fact, if you look closely you will often see the term “A Delaware Corporation” next to the names of many large companies. Over 50 percent of US publicly traded corporations, and 60 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, are incorporated in Delaware.

To be blunt, most major corporations love Delaware and its tax policy, save for David Stern's monopoly and his compatriots, who have always remained more than hypocritical on the betting issue.

The daily point spreads you see in your local newspaper are an obvious deference to games of chance, but the NBA and its cohorts have always had plausible deniability in that aspect since the spreads are compiled by various Las Vegas casinos and sportsbooks, not the leagues themselves.

Of course, daily press releases announcing injuries are clearly designed to even the playing field for the gamblers who fuel the popularity of all the various sports.

via Gambling is NBA’s latest hypocrisy – Kansas City Star.

This is a point that I’ve made before. If the leagues really wanted to slow down action on their games, they could do a few easy things, like discontinuing pre-game injury reports or even denying press credentials to media outlets that publish point spreads.

It’s also strange that many casinos are high-profile advertisers in stadiums and arenas in the US and Canada, but the leagues that play in those arenas insist that legal sports betting in those casinos would ruin the integrity of the sport. The numerous point-shaving scandals of the past sixty years have all been connected to illegal gambling; many of them happened before Las Vegas had a sizable sports betting industry.

Professional and amateur leagues in other countries seem to be doing a better job of dealing with sports betting.

Delaware destroys sports betting ban

Technically, sports betting isn’t banned in the Diamond State, but I figured this was a quick way to work in a George Thorogood reference. Here’s the story from USA Today:

The Delaware state senate moved quickly Tuesday to approve a sports gambling bill, leaving only Gov. Jack Markell's promised signature as the final step before it becomes law.

Instead of sending the bill to a committee for a debate, the senators voted to suspend those rules and allowed it to be debated in the full chamber. A short time later, the bill passed 17-2 with two abstentions.

"I am very pleased that the senate acted so quickly to pass the sports lottery legislation and I very much appreciate the leadership from both sides of the aisle," Markell said in a statement. "In particular, I want to thank Senator (Tony) Deluca as the lead senate sponsor and the leadership in the house of representatives who came together to get us closer to our meeting our budget challenges."

Markell, who has been a major backer of the bill, is expected to sign the bill later this week and the target is to have the betting system in place for the start of the NFL season.

Whenever it's signed, Delaware will become the first state east of the Mississippi to allow sports wagering. It's estimated that sports betting will generate about $50 million annually for Delaware, which Markell said will help with a projected $755 million shortfall in next fiscal year's budget.

Delaware state senate approves sports betting – USATODAY.com.

This is good news for those in the Delaware region who want to bet on slots, but there is a major caveat. As of now, only parlay betting is legal, not straight-up point spread betting, so this won’t be Nevada-style wagering.

Furthermore, even though I don’t want to pour water on anyone’s hopes, I’m a bit skeptical of claims that sports betting will bring in $50 million annually in tax dollars. Every sports book in Nevada combined made about $136 million in 2008, and they’ve had decades in business…and straight-up betting. I don’t think we know enough about demand for the product to accurately estimate what the take will be.

In other news, I’ve been very busy with a few things over at gaming.unlv.edu so haven’t been able to post much. Look for new things soon.

Delaware to bet on sports?

Thanks to a legislative loophole, Delaware is one of only four states allowed to license legal sports betting. In a few months, you may be able to get action down legally in the Diamond State–with a few caveats. From the Philly Inquirer:

Atlantic City’s hopes of a gaming-industry rebound in 2009 might be about to take another hit, this time from a southwesterly direction.

When Delaware Gov.-elect Jack Markell and a new General Assembly take office next month, the legalization of sports betting is expected to be high on their "to-do" list. State lottery director Wayne Lemons said that with legislative approval, sports betting could be in business by the summer.

This, said one gambling-business analyst, certainly wont make things easier for Atlantic Citys 11 casinos, which have been reeling from the double-whammy of a trashed economy and increasing competition from Pennsylvania slots parlors.

However, suggested Joe Weinert, senior vice president of Linwood, N.J.-based Spectrum Gaming Group LLC, the blow probably will be more glancing than fatal.

"It will definitely be a negative for Atlantic City," said Weinert, especially among male customers. Sports betting, he offered, "will give them another excuse to gamble in Delaware."

As a result, he added: "It will be another dent in Atlantic Citys armor," but probably not severe enough to make an appreciable difference in the seaside casinos bottom lines.

That, Weinert said, is because of the nature of what is being proposed for Delaware. Unlike in Nevada, gamblers wont be able to place a bet on a single sporting event.

Instead, he said: "Youll have to place a parlay bet – a minimum of two bets. You can bet the Eagles to win by seven [points], but you also have to bet [on something like] Brian Westbrook rushing for 100 yards."

Delaware likely to OK sports betting | Philadelphia Daily News | 12/11/2008.

The lottery might have trouble running sports betting. Nevada casinos can do it because they have the rest of the gaming floor to carry them if bettors get lucky–like if the Giants win the SuperBowl. But what’s the lottery going to do? Go to the schools and ask them for money back?