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Delaware Sports Betting First Out of Gate,

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Staff member
Jan 14, 2008


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Delaware gained a competitive edge on Tuesday in newly legal sports betting as the first U.S. state
in a quarter century to expand its athletics gambling program, but the boost could be short lived as rival states close in, analysts said.

At 1:30 p.m. EDT, the second smallest state went live, accepting bets on a gamut of professional sports,
the first to roll out its betting program since last month's U.S. Supreme Court decision struck down a 1992 ban.

Delaware also became the only East Coast state to offer legal athletics wagering.

"Being first out of the gate may offer some first-mover advantages," said Randy Gerardes,
director of municipal securities research for Wells Fargo Securities in New York.
"But it's difficult to ascertain exactly how much activity that will stimulate or how much revenue," he said.

Along with Nevada, Montana and Oregon, which has since suspended its sports betting operations,
Delaware was given a partial reprieve from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

Under the exemption, Delaware was allowed only multi-game betting on professional football. As of Tuesday,
it was set to also offer single-game and future betting on professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf, soccer and auto racing.

Wagering will at first be confined to the state's three casinos and then expand online.

By already having limited sports betting, Delaware had the rules and infrastructure in place to swiftly
expand gambling options when the SCOTUS decision landed, said Marcy Block, senior director at Fitch Ratings in New York.

"They were already several steps ahead of a lot of other people," Block said.

Still, Delaware and other U.S. states with sports gambling operations should not expect a windfall, Block said.
"We believe that it's still going to be a very small part of the overall gaming market," she said.