The legal tussle between the major US sports leagues and the state of Delware intensified as the week ended, with the leagues gaining the advantage in their request for an urgent appeal hearing for an injunction stopping Delaware from implementing newly approved state laws permitting sports betting.
The tit-for-tat struggle started when the leagues opposed moves by the state to introduce single game sportsbetting, launching litigation that included a request for an injunction against Delaware implementing its sportsbetting initiative until the main case on the constutionality of the new Delaware law had been heard on December 7th. Delaware were ahead on that one when the judge rejected the injunction.
Clearly concerned that Delaware could be taking bets as the football season commenced in September, the leagues then launched an urgent appeal against the rejection of the injunction.
Delaware lawyers responded by opposing the urgency application as unnecessary.
In the latest clash Friday, the leagues were successful in getting the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to grant an expedited hearing to keep Delaware from instituting sports betting at its three racetracks and casinos on September 1, in time for the college and pro football season.
The court ruled that a three-judge panel will listen to arguments from the leagues that sports betting does irreparable harm to their reputations at an urgent hearing on August 24th.
In confident mood, a spokesman for Delaware Governor Jack Markell said: "The court made clear it wants to move quickly to resolve these issues, which is fine. We look forward to our day in court."
ESPN reported that Jeffrey Standen, a law professor at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., and a sports gambling expert would bet on the state winning this one.
"If I had to handicap this, I think the argument is stronger in state law," said Standen. "But the leagues would prefer to win a federal claim."
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