Racetrack casinos already building out sports books may rethink plans if only NFL parlay games will be allowed

Delaware’s three casinos expressed disappointment at a federal court decision on Monday barring single-game bets at their planned sports books.

“It’s going to hurt a lot,” Patricia Key, CEO of Harrington Raceway and Casino, told the News Journal of Wilmington, Del.

Harrington and Dover Downs are each spending $5 million on their respective books, according to court filings cited by the News Journal. Delaware Park is investing $1 million.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that Delaware’s plan to offer single-game wagers violated a 1992 federal ban on sports betting. Delaware and three other states were exempted from the ban because they had previously offered legal sports betting. Delaware offered various forms of parlay betting on NFL games in 1976, and the court said Delaware can offer those bets.

Ed Sutor, CEO of Dover Downs, said his casino will not halt construction of its sports book, and said it was too soon to quantify the financial impact of the court decision. “If it does stop sports betting or severely diminishes it, it’ll have a negative impact on the casinos and the state,” he said.

“If it’s just NFL parlays then it’s not going to be good,” Kay said. “If they go that route, then people will keep betting illegally with their bookies.”

Andrew Gentile, chief operating officer of Delaware Park, said, “I guess we'll have to be changing some of our billboards.”