The state of Delaware's stand in approving sportsbetting legalization despite threats from the major US sports leagues appears to have triggered its first reaction.
On Thursday the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) approved a policy banning states, such as Delaware, from hosting championship events if they allow fans to bet on single games.
The Associated Press news agency reports that chancellors and presidents from all three NCAA divisions approved the measure, saying it applies to "any session of an NCAA championship," though it does not apply to states that allow parlay betting, lottery tickets, pull tabs and sports pools.
The move came one day after a federal judge denied a request by professional sports leagues and the NCAA to halt Delaware's planned sports betting lottery until a legal challenge is resolved.
Congress banned sports betting in 1992 while grandfathering four states – Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon – that had already offered it. The lawsuit filed by the four major pro sports leagues and the NCAA argues that Delaware's plan to allow single-game betting would violate the legalization because Delaware has never offered single-game betting before.
The immediare reaction in Delaware was disappointment. Speaking for Governor Jack Markell, his chief of staff Tom McGonigle, said: "Not having gotten its way in court yesterday, it is disappointing that the NCAA would take this retaliatory action.
"Importantly, Delaware law prohibits any type of sports betting on any Delaware college game. So as applied to Delaware, this new policy only serves to punish the very students the NCAA claims to be trying to protect."
Associated Press reports that this is not the first time the NCAA has used its championships to send a message.
In 2001, the governing body prohibited South Carolina and Mississippi from hosting post-season games because those states had Confederate images on the statehouse grounds.
Officially, the NCAA opposes all forms of sports wagering that threaten the integrity of its games or jeopardizes the welfare of student-athletes and the athletic community. NCAA rules also ban advertising from organizations that promote gambling.
Some believe college athletes are more susceptible to gamblers because they are prohibited from getting paid for playing.
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