Bill Mele was the first person to place a bet on sports at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. (Photo: WBOC)
DOVER, Del. (WBOC/AP)- Having survived a contentious legal battle with professional sports leagues, Delaware’s new sports betting lottery is officially underway.
In advance of Thursday night’s NFL regular season opener, gamblers began placing their bets Thursday morning at Delaware’s three racetrack casinos.
Bill Mele was the first person to place a bet on sports at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. Mele, who also turned 57 on Thursday, spent a grand total of $6 betting on the Titans, Giants, Eagles and some other teams. He could win $100 off of his bet. He said he was excited to try something new.
“I didn’t think I’d be the first to bet,” he said. “It’s my birthday so when I found out there was a Thursday night game, I thought I’d better get out here and pick my teams for tonight.”
Other betters streamed into Dover Downs Hotel and Casino throughout the day to check the odds on the big board. Jason Brown said he was shocked when he found out sports betting has already started, and decided to place a bet.
According to Brown, “I think its crazy we’re the only state east of the Mississippi to offer sports betting.”
Under a federal appeals court ruling, the betting is restricted to parlay, or multiple, bets on at least three NFL games. A bettor must pick all the games correctly in order to win.
Delaware officials were hoping to offer bets on single games and on sports other than professional football, but the court said that was not allowed under the state’s exemption to a federal ban on sports betting.
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