DOVER — Ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, Delawareans have a new way to wager their bets on the big game.
The BetRivers app soft launched in the First State on Dec. 27 and was announced officially Jan. 3, giving sports fans the opportunity to bet from the comfort of their own homes.
And, since the app’s launch, about 92% of people using BetRivers have been Delawareans, according to state Lottery Director Helene Keeley.
“Delawareans that may have been driving to a parking lot in Maryland or over to Pennsylvania, a lot of that business has come back and, for people who want something more than just the parlay cards, having the app available to them has been great,” Ms. Keeley told the Daily State News.
The launch of the BetRivers app, which is managed by its parent company Rush Street Interactive, gives bettors the chance to bet on a number of casino games and put wagers down on a variety of sports, not just football.
The process included months of deliberation between the state, stakeholders and lawmakers, and followed nearby states’ recent implementation of online sports betting.
As long as individuals are 21 and older, they can utilize the sportsbook offerings via mobile devices, tablets, desktop and laptop computers at de.betrivers.com.
Rush Street Interactive was selected as Delaware’s lone mobile gaming vendor in September, entering a five-year term to provide casino and sports betting to those in the First State. The company manages operations in at least 15 states, including Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
After the initial agreement expires, extensions on the contract are contingent on decisions from Delaware Lottery, Delaware Park and Harrington Casino and Raceway. The state’s third casino, Bally’s Dover Casino Resort, is offering its own app outside of the BetRivers branding, though it was also developed by its parent company.
Delaware is an anomaly when it comes to most states who have entered the gaming space, Ms. Keeley said, as nearby states have gaming commissions responsible for approving licenses to vendors and enforcing laws regarding the facilities that offer gambling.
In those states, there is a competitive gaming environment that provides sportsbooks like FanDuel and Draft Kings to compete against each other.
Meanwhile, in Delaware, the state lottery is responsible for overseeing the gaming environment, with the goal of the structure to direct profits to the state’s general fund – which was a driving factor in the state’s decision to opt for a sole provider of an online gambling market.
This framework gives the state final approval on marketing and which promotional bonuses are offered, Ms. Keeley said, which could aid the state’s efforts to curb problem gaming.
“(Rush Street Interactive) is very much concerned about creating issues for families and individuals and they take problem gaming very seriously,” Ms. Keeley said. “Having a single vendor here in Delaware gives us the ability to do our very best to curtail (problem gaming).”
Prior to the state’s launch of online casino and sports betting, Delawareans could fill out parlay or teaser cards through the lottery.
These cards are often found in gas stations or tobacco stores and allow bettors to select their National Football League picks to potentially win a sum that is based upon the number of games they choose to bet.
While the state saw slight decreases in the use of these cards once nearby states launched their mobile sports betting markets, it still saw success from the parlay and teaser card offerings.
“This football season, where Maryland had a good year of experience with the mobile app, we did see a decrease,” Ms. Keeley said. “However, since the parlay cards are still very popular, while we saw a decrease in bets placed, our handle was still very strong.”
As the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs prepare for their Super Bowl 58 matchup in Las Vegas, action has continued pouring in, both in the First State and throughout the country.
Ms. Keeley said that, as of Friday morning, the wagers on the Chiefs outnumbered that of the 49ers by about 3-to-1.
On the state’s parlay cards, the NFC champion 49ers are favored by 1.5 points, though on BetRivers, oddsmakers have pushed the line, making San Francisco a flat two-point favorite.
“People tend to bet with their heart, most of the time, as opposed to the folks out there who do this for a profession,” Ms. Keeley said, noting that professional bettors tend to fade the side who has garnered the most public support on their bets.
While Super Bowl 58 will be a chance for Delawareans to utilize the newly implemented BetRivers app, Ms. Keeley is excited about the partnership and the future of gaming in Delaware.
“We work as a family here in Delaware, where the retailers are a part of our family, the horsemen are part of our family, and the casinos are part of our family,” Ms. Keeley said. “It’s a delicate balance… and as people come online and use the BetRivers app, I think they will see that it’s very user friendly.
“On the gaming side of it, the amount of options that are available, people will be very surprised about it, and I know that, in the coming months, we’ll have additional opportunities for our customers as well.”