Delaware Sees NFL Sports Betting as a Chance to Increase Revenues
Each February, NFL fans across the nation ready themselves for 6 months with no meaningful football. As America’s most popular sports, sports books see a decline in sports betting as soon as the Super Bowl is finished. When August rolls around, the league schedules a month of meaningless football. The sport is too violent to risk injuries to key players.
Preseason football does signal the real thing is nearly here, which means Delaware should receive a boost to its gambling revenues. Sports gambling has grown in the past few years. The 3 racecourses in the state offer sports bets, but so do 80 other gaming venues. These include bars, restaurants, and even some retail stores.
50% More Winners in 2013
With such gambling more prevalent, the number of gamblers has increased a lot in recent years. Delaware had 55,841 winners in 2012. In 2013, that number rose to 81,383 winners. With the economy better than it was a year ago, the number should increase once more.
Record Turnover in 2013
Delaware’s Lottery Director, Vernon Kirk, sees the player pool increasing in 2014 and beyond. During the 2013 season, 1.3 million wagers were placed and the state had $13 million in turnover. Over the course of the season, Delaware retailers collected about $900,000 in commission. This was almost double the figure from the year before.
Vernon Kirk told Newsworks, “With the new quick pick option and even more sports lottery locations in 2014, It’s shaping up to be a very exciting year.”
$20 Million Tax Windfall
The last several years have been difficult ones for the Delaware gambling industry. Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs, and Delaware Park are facing tough competition from Pennsylvania and elsewhere. State politicians have discussed giving the industry a $20 million tax bailout this year, which is not what leaders had hoped when online gambling was legalized in 2010.
After much discussion, lawmakers decided this past June to reduce the amount casinos pay the state by nearly $10 million this year. Delaware’s real advantage over nearby states is sports gambling. In 1991 and 1992, the U.S. federal government let a handful of states opt-in to a law which allowed legal sportsbooks.
New Jersey made the huge blunder of not opting in to the sports betting laws, leaving Delaware as the only U.S. state east of the Mississippi with legal sports bets. If someone on the eastern seaboard wants to gamble legally on sports, they must go to one of Delaware’s 83 venues. Major sports in America is set up in such a way that there’s always a major sporting event taking place, whether it’s NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, NHL, NCAA football, NCAA baseball, PGA golf, ATP and WTA tennis, or NASCAR. Between these various events, no weekend takes place without some sport one can wager on. That doesn’t even take into account purely international sports, such as the English Premier League and other UEFA football leagues.
But fall is always special in the United States, because that’s when American football takes center www. It hasn’t always been so, but the National Football League dominates American sports.
The National Football League
The NFL is at an apex of popularity. Despite people claiming the violence of the game will cause it’s downfall, nothing so far has hurt the league’s viewer numbers. The Super Bowl is a national holiday, while each Sunday in the fall is a time when the NFL dominates talk. The NFL makes sure to control as much time as possible in a week, with NFL games on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night.
With so many opportunities to gamble, many sports gamblers start with Thursday Night Football and bet all weekend, straight through until Monday. Much of the way Roger Goodell has set the weekly football schedule is about television contracts. The league recently sold half of its Thursday Night Football package to CBS–eight games a year–for a whopping $700 million. That is simply an incredible sum for 8 games a year, even if the contract stretches for multiple years.
TV drives all American sports, and the NFL would never admit they would schedule events to help the US sportsbooks. Look at how powerful men like Donald Trump run from gambling when he’s trying to woo the NFL and you’ll see how much Roger Goodell and his people want to distance from gambling. Still, sports gambling trails in the NFL’s wake, and the schedule is set up well for the sportsbooks and the bookmakers (“bookies”).
Take Monday, for example. Monday Night Football is a traditionally strong night for gambling, because many betters are trying to cover their losses over the weekend with one last, big score. Notice how tout services advertise all day on Monday radio shows, because they know people want to score big, before the weekly cycle ends. There’s a weekly and yearly rhythm to Americans sports betting, which is what Delaware is counting on each year with the start of the NFL season.