Lawsuit targets Delaware sports bets

Jul 28, 2009 5:08 PM
Staff & Wire Reports |

The state of Delaware is primed and poised to offer sports betting, beginning with the NFL in September.

The state’s race tracks and slot parlors are moving ahead with plans to build sports lounges and Las Vegas-based operators are setting up the technology to pull it off.

However, outside the state, politicians, sports leagues and college athletics are vehemently working to derail the plan.

The four major pro sports leagues and the NCAA last Friday sued Delaware, seeking to block the state from implementing sports betting.

Delaware’s sports betting plan "would irreparably harm professional and amateur sports by fostering suspicion and skepticism that individual plays and final scores of games may have been influenced by factors other than honest athletic competition," the leagues and NCAA said in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Delaware.

If that’s not enough, two Senate Republicans, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Jon Kyl of Arizona, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, urging him to enforce a federal ban on sports betting in Delaware and New Jersey (which is also seeking sports betting).

Congress banned sports betting in 1992 while grandfathering four states — Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon — that had already offered it. But the lawsuit argues that Delaware’s plan to allow single-game betting would violate the legislation because Delaware has never offered single-game betting before.

Under the ’92 law, the leagues and NCAA said, a state like Delaware may only reintroduce the kind of sports betting that it had offered between 1976 and 1990.

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