BetRivers Retains Exclusivity in Delaware for Another Year

The Delaware sports betting landscape remains unchanged as the state's legislative session concluded this weekend without passing a proposal to expand sports betting options. This means BetRivers, which currently holds exclusive rights as the state's online sports betting operator through a partnership with the Delaware Lottery, will retain its sole-source status for another year.

The BetRivers sponsorship banner at the Dover Motor Speedway in Delaware. (Source: Dover Motor Speedway)

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BetRivers' dominance extends beyond sports betting. The company also enjoys exclusive rights to online casino gaming in Delaware through partnerships with the state's three casinos. This concentrated control over both online gaming sectors has drawn scrutiny from some who advocate for a more competitive marketplace.

BetRivers, operated by Rush Street Interactive, is recognized as one of the leading online sports betting and casino platforms in the U.S., with a strong presence in several states. It will undoubtedly aim to maintain its stronghold on the Delaware market. The company has established itself as a dominant force and will likely leverage its existing partnerships and market share to its advantage.

Online sports betting apps became legal in Delaware in January 2024, and Delaware Lottery partnered with BetRivers to offer digital sports wagering. Since then, the gross gaming revenue has fluctuated throughout the first five months of the year. January had the highest revenue at $2,862,312, and February had the lowest at $1,036,444. There is an upward trend in revenue from February to May, but it's too early to say definitively if this represents a seasonal increase.

An attempt to break BetRivers' grip on the market came in the form of HB 365, a bill sponsored by Rep. Frank Cooke. The proposal aimed to introduce more competition by authorizing two online sports betting skins for each of Delaware's three casinos. This could have potentially increased the number of sports betting operators in the state to seven.

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No Traction for Betting Expansion

HB 365 initially showed promise, advancing from the House Administration Committee to the House Appropriations Committee in late May. However, Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf, who co-sponsored the bill, confirmed that its journey ended in June. The bill failed to gain traction within the allotted 12 legislative days in the House Appropriations Committee, effectively stalling its progress for the year.

Despite the setback for expanded sports betting, Delaware continues to benefit from its existing online gambling infrastructure. The state's early adoption of online gaming has made it a leader in the industry, generating substantial tax revenue that supports various state programs.

The reasons behind the bill's demise remain unclear. Some speculate that concerns about potential revenue dilution for the state, particularly with neighboring states like Maryland and Pennsylvania offering wider sports betting options, may have played a role. Others suggest that the current partnership between the Delaware Lottery and BetRivers, which generates significant tax revenue for the state, might have influenced the decision.


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