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Casino Owner Discusses Supreme Court Ruling On Sports Betting


Now to Delaware, a state hoping to be one of the first to take advantage of this ruling. Delaware Governor John Carney says full-scale sports gaming could be available at Delaware casinos by the end of next month. Dover Downs Casino and Hotel in Dover, Del., bet that this day would come. Ed Sutor is Dover Downs CEO and president, and he joins me now. Hey there.

ED SUTOR: How are you?

KELLY: I'm well, thank you. It does indeed sound as though you were betting the Supreme Court would rule this way, having built a sportsbook already.

SUTOR: Yes. We've anticipated this for quite a while. Ten years ago, when we built our sportsbook, we thought we could do anything - bet on basketball, baseball, college. But in a very narrow decision, the District Court in Philadelphia said we could only bet on parlay bets. That's meaning you had to bet on at least three games, only on the NFL.

KELLY: Right. This was this loophole in - on the Delaware state books, that you could bet in this limited way on NFL games.

SUTOR: Exactly.

KELLY: And the Supreme Court ruling today means you can come in and bet on any sport you want. How good is this going to be for business for you? How much do you stand to gain?

SUTOR: Well, just to give you some perspective, in Nevada, which has been betting on sports for well over 50 years, sports-betting revenue only equals about 2 percent of their gaming revenue. I know this bill has caused a lot of excitement. There's high expectations. But truth be told, it's still going to be only a small part of our business. The good thing is we already have our sportsbooks.

KELLY: And what does that mean? For people who aren't in the habit of placing sports bets, in part because it hasn't been legal in most states until now, what does that mean, that you already have a sportsbook in place?

SUTOR: Well, it's a separate facility that has big TV screens and then boards that produce all the games and the odds and the projected outcomes, all up on big electronic scoreboards. It also happens to be where we do our simulcast betting on horse racing. We are a racetrack. We do do harness racing six months out of the year. So we have it set up to do sports betting as well as horse-racing bets both here and around the country. So it's been active.

KELLY: I want to ask you just how welcome this additional income may be. And I asked that in New Jersey, where racetrack owners have talked about how they run their racetracks at a deficit, that they really need this income from sports betting in order to allow them to continue to operate. Is that the case in Delaware?

SUTOR: Yes, it is. What they expect is perhaps not as much revenue from the actual sports betting as getting additional attendance at their facility. That's one thing that sports betting does too.

KELLY: Oh. It just gets people in the door.

SUTOR: Yeah, especially for the Final Four or the March Madness or the Super Bowl. And while they're here, they do other activities. So I think that it's not unusual for the tracks in New Jersey, as well as other tracks throughout the country, that they want anything they can get to drive more business to their facility.

KELLY: Any downside at all to today's ruling from where you sit?

SUTOR: For me, the only thing is that I had an exclusive here in Delaware for the past 10 years. Now - you know, 40 percent of my business came from out of state. Now those states are going to have their own sports betting, so I have to overcome that additional competition.

KELLY: So people in New Jersey might stay in New Jersey to place their bets.

SUTOR: You got it, kid. You got it. But overall, are we happy to get it? Yes. Is it going to be a windfall? Absolutely not. But we're still happy to have it.

KELLY: Ed Sutor. He's CEO of Dover Downs Casino and Hotel in Delaware. Thanks so much for speaking with us.

SUTOR: My pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BETA BAND'S "B+A") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.