Published: December 17, 2023

Delaware online sports betting is tracking for a roll out in early winter

Delaware Lottery Director Helene Keeley says the lottery does not have a date set for when online sports betting will go live in the state, but the department is tracking for a roll out in early winter.

The Internet Sports Lottery Legislative Working Group released its final recommendations on the future of online sports betting in Delaware.

The task force was initially created by House Resolution 6 in January of this year to craft recommendations on how the state should navigate online sports betting.

When the task force delayed their recommendations, under Delaware procurement laws, the Delaware Lottery decided to move on with naming Rush Street Interactive (RSI) as the state's sole online gaming and online sports betting vendor for the state.

"We waited for quite a bit of time before actually signing that contract with RSI, but it was very clear that many Delawareans wanted us to provide a local sports app," Delaware Lottery Director Helene Keeley said.

The working group's final report recommends Delaware allow multiple online sports lottery operators, directly conflicting with the lottery's current contract with RSI.

"From our review and our perspective, we think that having more is better for lotteries, because it creates more competition, it ensures that everyone has a good platform and it allows more options for the public to choose what they want to do," State Rep. William Bush said.

These recommendations are not final — it will be up to the legislature to decide which legal regulations to implement.

The working group based their recommendations on current models in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, all of which allow multiple online lottery operators statewide.

The final report states: "The success seen in states with multiple online operators suggests that Delaware could benefit from a similar approach, encouraging a more competitive and economically thriving sports wagering market."

Keeley says the department will follow whatever regulations the legislature passes, but she believes the lottery's contract with RSI is the most lucrative option for the state.

“We will implement what the legislature tells us to do, however, the lottery believes that one vendor is sufficient for the state of Delaware," she said.

Keeley adds that if the legislature decides to allow multiple vendors in the state, the lottery would need to renegotiate with RSI: "I'm sure they [RSI] would want different parameters."

Maryland allows up to 60 online gaming vendors in the state, but Keeley says after speaking with her counterpart in Maryland, the state feels they will never reach that many vendors and are currently hovering at around 14.

Pennsylvania allows up to 13 online vendors at a tax rate of 36% gross gaming revenue. New Jersey allows up to 39 with a tax rate of 14.25%.

Although the exact profit rate with RSI is confidential, Keeley says Delaware is getting "a heck of a lot more" than 15% and believes maintaining a sole contract with RSI is the most profitable scenario for Delaware.

"At the end of the day, we still believe that the model that we're currently using satisfies what our responsibility is, which is in the constitution, and says that we should bring as much revenue into the state as possible. And based upon our contract with RSI, we're doing that," she said.

Keeley says the lottery does not have a date set for when online sports betting will go live in the state, but the department is tracking for a roll out in early winter.

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