Delaware Race Wagering
The Delaware Racing Commission was formed in 1933, and in 1935 Delaware granted a license for selling pools through pari-mutuel machines and wagering was allowed "within the enclosure of any licensed horse race meet."
In 1936, five local businessmen, headed by William duPont, Jr., formed the Delaware Steeplechase and Race Association (DSRA), dedicated to the breeding and promotion of thoroughbred race horses. The DSRA and the Racing Commission advocated legislators for legalized racing, resulting in the Delaware House and Senate passing a bill allowing 30 horse racing days and a 26-cent tax "on any free tickets issued for any race held in the state." Live horse racing had its start at Delaware Park, which first opened on 26 June 1937.
Delaware currently houses three racing sites: Delaware Park, which features live thoroughbred racing and slot machines; Harrington Raceway, which features harness racing and a 45,000-square-foot casino; and Dover Downs, which features live harness racing, NASCAR racing and slots.
Harrington Raceway is America's oldest continuously operating harness racing facility and has run a race meet every year since 1946.
Dover Downs, designed to accommodate horse and auto racing, opened in 1969. In 1971, they canceled all other race events except two annual 500-mile NASCAR Winston Cup Races. The schedule stood until 1977, when other racing events were reintroduced.
Gaming legislation in Delaware in 1996 allowed the state's three racetracks to install video lottery machines.
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