Sports betting starting Tuesday

DOVER — This time next week, you’ll be able to legally wager on your favorite sports, right in time for the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals.

The state announced Thursday it will officially launch full-scale sports betting Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Delaware will become the first state to offer expanded sports wagering since a landmark court decision last month essentially gave states free rein to do so.

Betting will be available only at the state’s three casinos: Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway & Casino.

Although it’ll be months before fans can bet on football, the United States’ favorite sport, gamblers should have plenty to tide them over until the late summer, as Delaware also will offer wagers on basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey, golf, boxing, mixed martial arts and auto racing.

“We have worked closely with Delaware’s three casinos to train lottery and casino staff in preparation for a launch of expanded sports betting, and Delaware is prepared to move forward,” Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger said in a statement. “We will continue to provide public updates and additional information through the Delaware Lottery ahead of next week’s launch.”

On May 14, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that banned sports betting with limited exceptions for four states, including Delaware.

The First State authorized sports betting in 2009 but was sued by the four major sports leagues, as well as the NCAA, two months later, leading to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruling Delaware could adopt sports gambling but in a limited form. Based on what it briefly offered in 1976, Delaware was able to launch multi-team wagers, known as parlay bets, on the NFL, but bets on individual NFL games or other sports were prohibited.

Starting Tuesday afternoon, that restriction will be lifted.

The Supreme Court’s ruling does not affect the University of Delaware or Delaware State University, as state law forbids betting on in-state teams.

While more than 100 gas stations, restaurants, liquor stores and other businesses currently offer parlay bets, they are not included in expanded sports betting.

The NBA and NHL championships have already started, but neither series will be over by Tuesday, guaranteeing fans a chance to bet on whether they think LeBron James can carry the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory over the heavily favored Golden State Warriors or which of the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights will take home the Stanley Cup for the first time.

About $46.4 million was bet on the NFL in Delaware this fiscal year, with the state pulling in about $8.6 million of that total.

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