And you thought the government was too incompetent to run health care. Thanks to its most recent court setback yesterday, the state of Delaware is now all but assured of losing money on sports betting.

Earlier this year, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed a sports betting law designed to boost the state’s coffers and lure gamblers from surrounding areas. The legalization of sports betting in Delaware was predicted to be a huge boost to the tiny state’s economy.

Delaware was grandfathered in before Congress passed The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The law effectively made gambling on ALL sporting events in the U.S. illegal under federal law. Sports betting in Nevada was exempted. Oregon and Delaware were also given exemptions because at the time they had state lotteries that took parlay bets on NFL games.

Delaware quit taking money on football games years ago because they actually LOST MONEY on their lottery parlays on NFL games. However, seeking to capitalize on their exemption, the state revived their sports gambling industry this year. They passed the gambling bill with much fanfare in May. The state then spent millions of dollars refurbishing Delaware Downs and two other racetrack casinos where they had set up betting booths. Markell giddily predicted that the state would take in $50 million a year in extra revenues on sports gambling. Then the hammer came down.

Evey professional sports league in America and the NCAA sued Delaware seeking to stop the sports wagering. A trial was scheduled for December. However, the NFL petitioned for and received “emergency relief.” They managed to get an expedited hearing before the NFL season. Last month, the Third Circuit appeals court ruled that Delaware could NOT take single game betting on NFL games.

Delaware appealed the ruling. Yesterday the court put MORE restrictions on the state’s betting. The court ruled, in a decision written by Judge Thomas Hardiman, that Delaware could only take parlay bets on NFL games. They can’t take a dime on any other sport. Hardiman castigated Delaware pointing out that the PASPA law clearly states that they are only exempted for parlay betting on NFL games. Period. That is the only sports betting the state is allowed.

The decision is a huge blow for Delaware. Nobody in their right mind is going to drive all the way to Delaware to bet NFL parlays through lottery tickets. Since the state has already blown millions in casino upgrades and legal fees, they are already losers. Bet on it.


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  1. Keith - Racing Systems Says:

    Jeez. I’m glad I live in the UK. We probably have the most relaxed, but heavily regulated betting laws in the world.

    I spend a lot of time in Las Vegas, and often wondered why the rest of the US have such draconian laws on gambling.

    The way the online poker ban was sneaked in a few years back certainly was not democracy in action!

  2. lee downing Says:

    Can someone please tell me where I can go in Delaware to bet on NFL games? Thank=you!

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