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Delaware Embraces Mobile Sports Betting with BetRivers Launch

Delaware recently entered the mobile sports betting arena, marking a significant milestone for the state. The launch took place with the introduction of the BetRivers sportsbook, provided by Chicago-based Rush Street Interactive (RSI), known for operating brands like BetRivers, PlaySugarHouse, and RushBet. This development follows the Delaware Lottery’s decision in August to choose RSI for its iGaming contract, succeeding the previous vendor, 888.

RSI’s contract spans an initial five years, with options for renewal. The company, already operational in 15 U.S. states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, aims to bring its award-winning product to Delaware. The soft launch of the BetRivers app saw success, generating excitement among users.

Delaware’s Unique Position in Sports Betting History

Delaware holds a unique position in the history of sports betting, being the first state outside of Nevada to offer single-game sports wagering after the fall of the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) in a 2018 Supreme Court ruling. The state’s ability to offer single-game bets on the NFL for almost a decade due to grandfathering under PAPSA facilitated this historic move.

While Delaware made history with its early adoption of single-game sports wagering, it faced challenges in keeping up with neighboring states in offering mobile sports gambling. Despite being an early adopter, New Jersey and Pennsylvania quickly surpassed Delaware by launching online sportsbooks. Maryland’s entry into the market further increased competition.

Challenges and Opportunities

Delaware’s unique position as one of three states operating under the state lottery presented challenges in embracing mobile betting. The state lottery, mandated to operate in a manner maximizing income for the state, initially hesitated due to concerns about lower returns from mobile betting compared to in-person wagering.

However, the demand from Delawareans and the growth of mobile sports betting in neighboring states compelled state leaders to embrace this evolving trend. The launch of the BetRivers app opens up opportunities for residents aged 21 and older to engage in mobile sports betting within state boundaries.

What to Expect from BetRivers

The BetRivers app, available on Apple and Google app stores or through the Delaware Lottery website, enables users to place bets after selecting one of the state’s three casinos: Delaware Park, Bally’s Dover, and Harrington Casino. The timing of the app’s launch coincided with major sporting events, allowing users to place bets on games like the Philadelphia Eagles and upcoming events like the Super Bowl and March Madness basketball tournaments.

While BetRivers offers online table games, an online poker product is not currently available. However, reports suggest that RSI is nearing a launch for an online poker option.

RSI’s Strategic Approach

Before RSI’s involvement, Delaware’s gross gaming revenue was approximately $13 million annually, with over 80% generated from online slots. RSI, with its contracted minimum marketing budget, sees an opportunity to increase revenues by targeting both casino gamblers and sports bettors. Despite Delaware’s relatively small market size compared to other states, RSI is optimistic about the potential for profitability.

In conclusion, Delaware’s foray into mobile sports betting with the BetRivers app reflects the state’s commitment to evolving trends in the gambling industry. The success of this endeavor could shape the future landscape of online betting in the region.

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