With the kickoff of the National Football League preseason, the Delaware Sports Lottery has teed up the ball for a second season.
Preseason wagering officially opened for preseason betting Aug. 7, one day before the majority of NFL teams began their preseason schedules.
Michelle DeGrange, assistant to owner Bill Klemkowski of Jake’s Seafood House, said it's hard to say if the sports lottery has had an effect on business, since there is not a lot of enthusiasm for preseason betting. She said much of the interest so far is out of curiosity because Jake’s has the lottery available.
Glenn Byrum, director of human resources for Grotto Pizza, said while preseason games do not inspire a lot of betting, there is a huge turnaround when Week 1 rolls around. The busiest time is on Sundays in the regular season from 11 a.m. to kickoff.
The sports lottery has 69 retailers – pubs, bars and restaurants mostly – plus three Delaware Sportsbook locations at casinos in Dover, Harrington and Wilmington. Twenty-one retail locations are in Sussex County.
“Based on the success and demand of Sports Lottery last year, we’ve seen a tremendous growth and interest from new as well as existing retailers,” Delaware Lottery Director Vernon Kirk said. “Players enjoy the fact that they can now place their wagers in some of the very locations where they regularly watch their favorite sports teams.”
Byrum called the first year of the sports lottery mildly successful, Grotto has added two new sports lottery locations upstate in Newark and Dover.
“We’re excited to have it. We thought it was a way to bring more people in,” he said.
DeGrange said Jake’s already does good football business, so the lottery doesn't have a huge effect. She said the restaurant was persuaded to carry the lottery as a win-win for both the state lottery and the restaurant. Delaware Lottery got a prime location on Route 1, Jake’s gets a little extra business and a small piece of the action: 5 percent of wagers and 1 percent of payouts. If there are $1,000 worth of wagers on Sunday of Week 1, she said, Jake’s gets $50.
Local sports lottery locations include Jake’s on Route 1, Nicola Pizza and Rehoboth Ale House in downtown Rehoboth and Grotto Grand Slam and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal in Lewes.
“We were very successful this year at filling in the gaps in towns and areas where retailers were scarce, making it much more convenient for our players to have access to place their wagers,” Kirk said.
DeGrange said Delaware state law requires games to be parlayed: players must bet on at least three games, with the player able to bet on a maximum of 12 games. Byrum said a new preseason wrinkle is Delaware Lottery is allowing players to place over/under bets as part of their parlays.
Prior to the regular season, lottery players can also place championship bets, where a player picks any of the 32 teams to win the championship. DeGrange said it is better for players to make the championship bets early in the season, when the season is still uncertain and payout is potentially larger than in say, Week 12, when the season has shaken out and the payout is smaller.
Preseason wagering runs through Friday, Aug. 30. Once the regular season begins, over/under wagers will also be available.
During the regular season, in addition to parlays, DeGrange said, the sports lottery also offers teasers and the $100,000 card: a parlay of all the games on the schedule, which, if the bettor picks all the games correctly, pays out $100,000. The catch is there is no half point in the point spread, and if there is a tie, the bettor loses, she said.