Delaware Sports Lottery gambling on another record year

DOVER — Vernon Kirk is ready for some football.

The Delaware Lottery director is stoked about National Football League parlay wagering that kicks off statewide for a seventh season today.

Vernon Kirk

Vernon Kirk

The ever-growing Delaware Sports Lottery reaped a record $7.1 million for the state’s General Fund in 2015, which could be surpassed this year with the addition of 20 more participating retail sites.

“It’s all about making the customer aware about what’s available to them,” Mr. Kirk said.

The third year of retail sales generated an all-time high $20.4 million at 82 business locations; 102 spots are available in 2015-16.

“This is a year of consolidation and tightening of the product,” Mr. Kirk said. “We’re making sure we have the geographical coverage we want but also trying to make sure we don’t flood the market either.”

Retailers and Delaware’s three sportsbook locations — Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Harrington Raceway & Casino and Delaware Park — will receive early odds and game point spreads at approximately noon today, officials said.

12dsn NFL championship oddsPre-printed cards will become available the first week of the regular season.

Until then, customers can fill out generic half-point cards for the preseason and wager “off the board” through a giant trans-lux board at each casino sportsbook; point spreads may fluctuate and possibly include whole numbers, Mr. Kirk said. Retailers will receive the updated numbers daily through on-site terminals.

More information regarding off-the-board wagering is available at www.delottery.com/games/sports/.

The state’s profit margin was boosted by some fortuitous game results last season, Mr. Kirk said.

“It’s gambling — some seasons are stronger than others,” Mr. Kirk said. “The favorites win more some years and the underdogs win more other times. Last year some key games broke our way.”

Odds on picking this year’s Super Bowl winner — always referred to as the Pro Football Championship Game by the state due to federal regulations — are available today and ever-changing as injuries occur, rookies bust, stars arrive, coaches rise or implode and teams run hot and cold are eliminated or still contending.

The opening odds

So who will clutch the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 7, 2016, in San Francisco’s Levi’s Stadium and then go to Disney World?

The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks open as NFC co-favorites at 5 to 1, followed by the Dallas Cowboys at 10 to 1.

Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles are tabbed as an 18 to 1 choice to earn the first Super Bowl title in franchise history and the Washington Redskins a distant 125 to 1 pick; only the Jacksonville Jaguars are a judged a longer shot at 200 to 1.

Buoyed by emerging superstar Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis Colts are deemed the AFC’s lead contender at 8 to 1, with the New England Patriots and projected starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppollo opening at 10 to 1 and Denver Broncos at 12 to 1 in perhaps Peyton Manning’s final season. The Baltimore Ravens are currently a 15 to 1 bet in wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.’s last run before retirement.

To cash in on a parlay, a chosen team must win three playoff games, including the Super Bowl. The minimum bet is $5.

12dsn Delaware Sports Lottery INFO BOXLast winter, the state gained $79,600 when the Patriots rewarded 620 ticket holders with a Super Bowl win, and would have added approximately $90,000 if the Seahawks and their 562 bettors prevailed.

No new parlay categories were added this year, Mr. Kirk said.

“We have a lot of product out there and don’t want to give people a lot of crazy options,” he said. “We’re pretty much status quo for the season.”

Odds and point spreads were not set until the last possible moment, Mr. Kirk said, since the state contracted bookmaker William Hill Race & Sports Book of Las Vegas risk managers evaluate as many football factors as possible as kickoff neared.

The most popular customer play is a half-point card which assures only winning or losing bets and none refunded by a push, and accounted for 47 percent of wagers last season.

Retail sales and number of locations for the first two seasons included:

2012-13, $6.4 million, 31 retailers
2013-14, $12.3 million, 69 retailers.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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