The new era of American sports betting officially kicked off on Tuesday, as Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to offer full-scale sportsbooks at its casinos.

Delaware sports betting
Delaware Gov. John Carney shows off his ticket after placing the first single-game sports bet in the state at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. (Image: Patrick Semansky/AP)

The quick pivot to single-game betting in Delaware was made possible after the Supreme Court decision that repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the law that had prevented states from authorizing new types of sports betting since 1992.

Phillies Book a Win for Carney

The first bet taken under the new rules was placed by Delaware Gov. John Carney, who placed a wager at 1:30 pm at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. The Democrat placed $10 on the Philadelphia Phillies to beat the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. That also makes Carney one of the state’s first winners, as the Phillies claimed victory, 6-1.

Single-game and futures bets on baseball, basketball, hockey, football, soccer, golf, and auto racing are now all available at the three casinos in the state — Dover Downs, Delaware Park, and Harrington Raceway.

Delaware had several advantages that allowed them to be first to the market following the elimination of PASPA.

For one, the state already had sportsbooks at its casinos, albeit only in a limited sense. Thanks to a state lottery program from 1976, Delaware was allowed to offer parlay NFL betting even under PASPA, which they had again done since 2009.

Delaware officials have also been preparing for this possibility for months. The casinos had been training staff and working on software packages even before the Supreme Court ruling came down in order to be ready if the opportunity arose.

‘Modest Expectations,’ Strong First Day

Bettors were apparently prepared as well. According to a report from USA Today, the three casinos took about $170,000 in wagering in the first three hours alone. While that’s a promising sign of interest, officials don’t necessarily expect that pace to keep up for long.

“We have pretty modest expectations,” Carney told reporters. “There is going to be competition from New Jersey and the other states. That will keep bettors in their home areas as opposed to coming over here. It’s more of a tourism play to enhance the experience for the people who already come to Delaware.”

For now, though, Delaware is the only legal game in town east of the Mississippi, and gamblers were excited for the opportunity to place their bets.

“I did not think this day would happen,” gambler Charles Burrell of Dover said after placing bets on baseball and the NBA Finals. “It had so many hiccups and it was dead, and then it came from out of nowhere.”

New Jersey is likely to follow right on the heels of Delaware, with legislators ready to have a final vote on sports betting legislation on Thursday. Other states in the region, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York, have also taken steps to move towards offering legal sports betting in the near future.