DELAWARE SPORTSBETTING ARGUMENTS DRAG ON
9/10/09 – Last month's federal appeals court ruling in Philadelphia that the state of Delaware can offer only parlay bets on “at least three” NFL games is back under the spotlight this week as lawyers go for a two-game parlay imprimatur as well as a three-game.
David Margules, a lawyer retained by Delaware state, wrote to a federal judge Tuesday, indicating that the state is considering offering two-game parlays.
“The Third Circuit did not address the permissibility of multi-game betting on two NFL games,” attorney David Margules wrote. According to Margules, the state currently plans to proceed only with parlays involving at least three games, and has informed the sports leagues and the NCAA that it would give 30 days notice if it decides to introduce two-game parlays.
In the letter, Margules asks Chief District Judge Gregory Sleet in Wilmington to vacate a September 1 order permanently prohibiting the state from offering single-game betting, betting on sports other than professional football, or any sports betting scheme that was not conducted in 1976.
Margules argued that the order was premature because the appeals court will not formally return the case to Sleet until the September 14 deadline for the state to challenge the appeals court ruling expires.
Margules also noted that the appeals court did not require that Delaware’s new sports betting lottery be identical in every respect to its 1976 rules. The court said certain differences are allowed “as long as they do not effectuate a substantive change” from the 1976 sports betting scheme.
“No record has been developed on whether a two-game parlay would ‘effectuate a substantive change’ from a three-game parlay,” Margules wrote.
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Finally, Margules said Sleet’s order does not comply with federal rules requiring that an injunction specifically state the actions that are being restrained or prohibited.
“Defendants are therefore without clear guidance what they must refrain from doing…” he wrote.
Attorneys for the leagues agree that there are problems with Sleet’s order and have agreed not to seek to enforce it as long as the state offers only parlays of three games or more.
Michael Barlow, legal counsel for Governor Jack Markell, said the purpose of the letter was to ensure that Sleet’s order is consistent with the appeals court opinion.
While the appeals court expressly prohibited single game betting and declared three-game parlays appropriate, questions remain about the permissibility of two-game betting, Barlow said.
“The two game stuff wasn’t necessarily resolved in the words of the 3rd Circuit opinion,” he said.