Legal sports betting is already paying off for the state of Delaware, which earned a six-figure haul on its first day taking wagers since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on the pastime.
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Vernon Kirk, director of Delaware’s lottery, told ESPN that the state took $322,135 in wagers across three casinos that currently offer full-scale sports betting. Delaware Gov. John Carney placed the first bet of the day, wagering $10 that the Philadelphia Phillies would beat the Chicago Cubs.
"For us, it's really an enhancement of our tourism industry," Carney told ESPN. "It will attract a lot of visitors to our state, particularly at this time of year, during the summer, coming to our beautiful beaches south of here. They come here and stop at the casinos and do slot machine and table gaming. This will be another opportunity for them."
Delaware was the first state to legalize full-scale sports betting, including single-game wagers, since the Supreme Court’s decision that states, not the federal government, should determine whether it is legal. The state had previously offered sports betting on a limited scale.
Other states, including New Jersey, are expected to legalize sports betting in the near future.
Delaware could earn anywhere from $350 million to $760 million annually from sports betting, according to projections from research firm Eilers & Krejcik.