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Delaware generates $1 million in first month; LeBron’s LA move shakes up sportsbooks

Delaware earned $1 million in revenue during its first month offering legal sports betting.

From June 5 to June 24, when the revenue numbers were reported to officials, nearly 70,000 wagers for a total of just over $7 million were made at Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway. Bettors won a little more than $6 million, leaving the state with the $1 million in revenue.

During that three-week stretch, Delaware sportsbooks have a hold percentage — the amount the house keeps of the amount wagered — of better than 14 percent. In comparison, Nevada sportsbooks’ hold percentage has been 5.5 percent since 1992.

In Delaware, futures bets, for example, on the odds to win the Super Bowl that were placed in June are included in the amount wagered, which does create a slightly higher win percentage, but not by much, Kirk said.

“We were pleasantly surprised,” said Delaware Lottery director Vernon Kirk. “I’m cautiously optimistic, but check back with me when football season starts. No matter how you look at it, we have a good first few weeks, but I’d be surprised if it stayed that strong.”

LeBron James‘ decision to play for the Los Angeles Lakers will have an effect at sportsbooks.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened the Lakers at 20-1 to win the 2018-19 NBA title based on the possibility of signing James, and currently lists them at 5-1 (third-best odds). It has received more bets on the Lakers than on any other team. In the East Coast market, William Hill books in New Jersey have received more bets on the Boston Celtics, but the Lakers are still second. But those odds are reflective of the liability the SuperBook has on the Lakers, more than Los Angeles’ actual odds of winning a title.

“True odds for Lakers winning with this team are probably 15-1,” head Westgate oddsmaker Ed Salmons told ESPN in a text message.

A Chicago Tribune article published yesterday suggests that an expanding legal sports betting landscape will change the way “we watch, talk and experience sports.”

While no media executive is anticipating the game broadcasts to change significantly, the dialogue around sporting events could evolve. With the legality no longer posing any sort of ethical barrier, there’s no longer a need to wink, and sports gambling probably will be mainstreamed in a way that will be apparent to both gamblers and fans who’ve never placed a bet in their lives.

Legalized gambling won’t change Van Pelt’s approach to SportsCenter — “I’m not suddenly going to become a 900-number and try to shill picks” — but he knows the landscape is shifting and knows everyone is trying to adjust accordingly.

“I think it’s trickier than just saying, ‘We’ll do gambling talk.’ All right, what’s that look like? That’s the part I wrestle with,” he said. “But the content itself will include an acknowledgment of the spread, where in the past that was kind of the third rail.”

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Each Friday, we’ll comb through as many articles, tweets and podcasts as we can find related to the world of sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and publish the good stuff here. 

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