Big bet on the big game


DOVER — They’re young and old, women and men.

Regarding NFL interest, it’s game on for a wide swath of First State bettors.

This season’s Delaware’s Sports Lottery will generate between $9 to $10 million for the state coffers no matter what today’s Super Bowl showdown.

The final number hinges on the Eagles-Patriots score and who wins by how much.

No matter what, 2017-18 was easily the state’s most profitable season ever and a good time was apparently had by all,

“It’s a popular thing that crosses a variety of demographics,” Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk said early this week.

“It’s a fun thing to do without having to invest a lot of money. People like to sit down and fill out parlay cards (as a form of entertainment.)”

This year, the state won money every week but one. Mr. Kirk said the successful run had the potential to spook bettors continually getting hammered, but they kept coming back for more.

Ultimately, the $46.4 million in sales was a record for the lottery that began in 2009.

Folks like to take the better teams but underdogs rose to the occasion and boosted the state’s take.

Beginning in the preseason, the state offered three-game parlay cards for game results and a separate opportunity to pick a Super Bowl winner at varying odds.

Four scenarios are possible based on the final score between the Eagles and Patriots.

If underdog Philly wins outright or beats the spread, the state loses $354,465 to bettors on futures wagers and $293,000 to $347,000 on parlay cards.

The state’s budget will gain $271,301 if New England wins the game, yet lose between $381,000 to $429,000 on parlay cards if they fail to cover the spread.

Final parlay cards listed the American Football Conference representative Patriots as a 2 1/2 point favorite.

A long-time Eagles fan, Mr. Kirk professes to be unmoved by the state’s potential loss that’s relatively minuscule and won’t erase most of the gains. Any bettor must accept that ups and downs are inevitable and the final profit or loss must fluctuate for private citizen and state government.“I’m a hometown guy, I’m strictly an Eagles fan,” he said.

Big expansion coming?

Depending on a Supreme Court ruling, Delaware’s current three-bet minimum parlay format may soon be supplanted by expanded betting options including single game wagers.

The nation’s highest court is considering the Christie versus National Collegiate Athletic Association that will determine whether the federal government can control state legislation.

If the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection is overturned as New Jersey hopes, state’s like Delaware could create sports betting akin to Las Vegas and its multitude of wagering opportunities.

Mr. Kirk believes a decision could come sometime by the end of February.

If so, the First state already has software and regulations in place to be ready for the 2018 kickoff.

Meetings with state casinos have already taken place for contingency strategies, including the expected regional competition that would likely emerge.

“It would just take matter of weeks for us to be up and running,” Mr. Kirk said.

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