9/1/09 – Last week's surprise ruling in favour of the major US sports leagues opposed to Delaware's sportsbetting plans has been followed by extensive publicity expanding on the judgement. The coverage is based on the court's formal order and opinion issued Monday.
The order comes a day before the start of Delaware's entry into the sportsbetting sector and clarifies that point-spread bets on individual games in all major sports violated federal law. However, the opinion allows the state to offer parlay bets, which depend on the outcome of several matches, on National League Football games.
The court opinion agreed with the sports leagues that Delaware was generally limited to what it offered in 1976, when it allowed gamblers to bet on winners of several NFL games.
Any effort by Delaware to allow wagering on athletic contests involving sports beyond the NFL would violate federal law, Judge Thomas Hardiman wrote.
"Delaware may, however, institute multi-game (parlay) betting on at least three NFL games, because such betting is consistent with the scheme to the extent it was conducted in 1976," he added in his written opinion.
The state had planned to offer sports betting from three racetrack casinos, and it expected to benefit from added tourism.
"While we are disappointed the decision does not provide the flexibility we had hoped for, Delaware is still the only state east of the Rocky Mountains that can offer a legal sports lottery on NFL football," Delaware Governor Jack Markell said in a statement.
“We continue to believe this is an opportunity to create jobs and generate revenue to help us keep teachers in the classroom, police on the street and maintain other core commitments of state government.
"The state’s attorneys are reviewing today’s written opinion from the Court of Appeals and we will be discussing our legal options with them."
The case is In re Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, et al v. Jack Markell, et al, U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 09-3297.
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