Always one of the country’s more obscure states, Delaware has a pretty damn minimal history with high-level football. Due to the state’s notably progressive stance (and action!) on various forms of online gambling, Delaware may yet become a haven for those into betting on football.
Betting in Delaware
As was the case with many of the original colonies in America, legal gambling in Delaware began in the late 1740s with lotteries first established in order to fund British wars. By 1850, however, all but three of then-extant 31 states had banned such betting altogether: Already ahead of the curve, Delaware stood alone with Kentucky and Missouri as the only states continuing the practice after the Civil War.
In 1760, one of America’s first horseracing facilities was erected in Newark, Delaware; this and other tracks did steady business right through to the 1920s. After the foundation of the Delaware Racing Commission in 1933 (one of the country’s first such authoritative bodies, naturally) and two years later, licenses were first issued by the state to standardize betting. In ’37, the state-owned and -regulated Delaware Park opened; the Delaware is still open to this day.
In response to a slump in incomes to the state’s racetracks, Delaware state legislature soon saw the benefits of legalizing betting. In June ’94, the Horse Racing Preservation Act was passed, allowing slot machines and like games at racetrack venues in Maryland. Twenty years later, casino games are credited with saving the Delaware – and the other tracks – from the brink of oblivion.
The success of casino games at the racetracks in Delaware snowballed, and the state was the second in the nation to allow intrastate poker playing online in 2012. Delaware was also – get this – the first state to allow intrastate online casino gambling, launching a state-sponsored site in late 2013. Finally, Delaware legislators entered into a deal with Nevada in ’16 to allow inter-intrastate gambling, i.e. Delaware residents may play at Nevada-based poker websites fully legally.
Football in Delaware
Even as one of the original 13 in the union, Delaware has been at the bottom of any list of “U.S. states by population.” As of 2015, official estimates place Delaware 45th among the states, while its largest city, Wilmington, does not even make the top 307 U.S. cities by population; in fact, at under 100,000, it’s not even technically a city!
The point here: No professional football has ever been established in Delaware, even in the boom-and-best years of the 1920s NFL. Some 36 Delaware-born players have seen time in the NFL; he with the most games played among Delawareans (117) is Tim Petitgout, an OL who played at Notre Dame for four years before moving on to play in 8 seasons with the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Easily the most notable product of Delaware football, however, is two-time Super Bowl-winning QB Joe “Is He Elite?” Flacco. After redshirting then riding the bench with the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, Flacco transferred to the second-division University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. Suffice to sy, Flacco crushed it at Delaware, carrying the team to the FCS championship game against Appalachian State in his senior year of 2007.
Flacco was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens at no. 18 overall in 2008 and, through the 2017 season, he’s still the starting QB there, with one Super Bowl title to his credit.
Though the Blue Hens have meanwhile yet to repeat their national championship of 2003, though in ’07 and ’10, the team advanced to the championship game.
Betting on football in Delaware
Once built in the shadow of Atlantic City, the casinos in Delaware will now likely outlast Trump's former playground in terms of economic viability. It is said that casino revenue now produce the fourth-most income for state of Delaware coffers, so options for football betting in Delaware can only increase in strength.
With literally revolutionary new ideas such as the Nevada-run intrastate gambling site that state has up for casino players, you can bet the Delaware will be on of the very first to legalize betting of football and other sports. In the mid-2010s, we can say that Delaware is about the closest thing to a gambler’s paradise in the United States – with online poker, internet casinos, lottery, pari-mutuel, daily fantasy sports and casino game betting.
Just imagine Flacco himself on Delaware TVs in 2025 pitching the state’s new football parlay offerings…