Delaware wants to parlay its betting action

Oct 27, 2009 4:03 PM
Gaming Insider by Phil Hevener |

State may not continue bets into playoffs

Delaware strategists are having second thoughts about abandoning an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of sports betting restrictions imposed by a federal court.

The volume of wagering – some 40,000 NFL tickets written last weekend at the three locations accepting three-team parlay bets is beginning to produce the kind of revenue that has the state hungry for more. Delaware does not accept wagers of any kind on NCAA games.

As things stand now, I’ve been told, the state will have to close down wagering at the end of the regular NFL season because the requirement of a three-team parlay does not mesh with the realities of the playoffs. This does not sit well with lawmakers in a state that approved sports wagering as a means of solving budget issues. They’ve seen the money and they want more.

The door was opened to all kinds of sports bets when Delaware approved legislation earlier this year. But a coalition of major league sports interests – everything from the NFL to Major League Baseball and the NCAA filed suit to block it, arguing the plan was in conflict with the state constitution and the limitations of 1992 congressional action that limited Delaware wagers to parlay bets.

A federal judge startled Delaware officials when he sided with the sports leagues. State officials took the view that the judge had clearly not read the law right and so they asked for a hearing before the full panel of judges in their district. The court said no, it’s not going to happen.

At that point, just a few weeks ago, it looked like Delaware officials might decide to go with what they have (parlay bets) and join a plan devised in New Jersey to challenge the 1992 law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

But the 40,000 tickets written on one weekend at three locations, that’s much more than the estimated 25,000 or so that the many Station Casinos locations in the Las Vegas area might write on a football weekend.

The sports leagues combined forces to oppose the Delaware effort because what might happen in Delaware would definitely not stay there, not with expanded gambling of other kinds already spreading within other states.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Phil Hevener