Sportsbook in action as Dover Downs casino returns to life

DOVER — When the sportsbook opened up again at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino on July 23, the casino took another step in a return to a pre-COVID-19 world.

Throughout the summer, Dover Downs has reopened for table games, slot machines and now the sportsbook. Dover Downs is currently operating with a maximum occupancy up to 60% of fire code capacity on the casino floor, due to regulations put in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement, Dover Downs said the necessary protocols for guests are — “Temperatures scanned to enter casino, must be able to affirm no symptoms, must wear facial covering over nose and mouth at all times and must remain social distanced at six-feet from others at all times.”

The casino is opened from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Monday to Thursday. It is open 24 hours on the weekends, beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday until 4 a.m. on Monday.

The sportsbook’s current hours are 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. It is open for wagering only; guests are not able to remain in the room after wagering.

There are no paper copies of betting sheets in the room — they are all posted online at Bets can be made on self-service terminals only with ticket writers only there to cash out winning tickets.

At this time, the Delaware Lottery is offering wagering on MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and other soccer leagues, UFC, auto racing and NFL future bets.

Winning tickets from before the closure due to COVID-19 can still be cashed out, as they are valid for one year, according to Dover Downs and the Delaware Lottery.

Tickets on future bets that were canceled due to the pandemic, such as NCAA Basketball bets or MLB, NBA, NHL wins over/unders are marked as pushes and will be refunded if the bettor returns the ticket to be cashed out.

Future bets already made before the pandemic on championships in NHL, MLB, NBA, French Open and NASCAR are judged on a case-by-case basis as determined by the Delaware Lottery if they are still valid or will be marked as pushes for a refund.

COVID-19 struck during one of the busiest months for sports betting, canceling the NCAA Basketball Tournament in March.

Last year, according to numbers provided by the Delaware Lottery, there was $10,483,128 wagered on a combined 246,137 sports bets throughout the state’s three casinos in March — the highest total for a non-NFL month. Delaware Lottery posted net proceeds of $1,644,164 in March of 2019.

But because of cancellations and closures, in March 2020 there was only $3,877,068 wagered on 117,455 sports bets as Delaware Lottery reported proceeds of $571,486.

With sportsbooks closed, Delaware Lottery had no proceeds to report in April, May and June. Data for July is not yet available.
Table games were closed in April and May but Delaware Lottery reported $5,892,755 played in total in June and $9,211,835 in July, for net proceeds of

$1,465,764 and $2,544,301 respectively. Those numbers are down compared to earlier in the year during pre-social distancing times as the state saw $18,597,720 played at table games in January (net proceeds of $4,774,864) and $17,494,036 in February (net proceeds $4,090,072), according to Delaware Lottery.

One area that has seen an increase thanks to COVID-19 is I-Gaming.

There were a total of 1,410 registrations throughout the state in April at the height of the closures due to the pandemic, compared to just 431 users in February.

Bettors wagered $9,864,773.51 on I-Gaming in February before the pandemic hit. They then nearly doubled that in March at $16,350,532.83 wagered before a total of $28,496,616.31 was wagered in April and $29,485,078.55 was wagered in May. The May number is the most ever spent on I-Gaming since the state began offering it in 2013.

The amount bet on I-Gaming has slowed down a bit since the state has reopened but is still higher than it was last year with $23,829,572.85 wagered in June and $20,782,681.99 in July.
Delaware Lottery reported proceeds of $1,134,900.04 on I-Gaming for the month of May — its largest ever proceeds on I-Gaming.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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