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Delaware appeals ruling on sports bets

15 September 2009

ust days after Delaware opened its new sportsbook venues for parlay and teaser betting on NFL games, lawyers for the state filed a petition asking the full Third Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear arguments in a lawsuit that prohibited Delaware from offering single-game wagering on NFL games.

"The State of Delaware should have its day in court. We hope we get that opportunity," Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said in a statement posted on his Web site. "We believe there are important legal and factual questions that should be heard by the entire Court."

Two weeks ago, a three-member panel of the Third Circuit sided with the sports leagues and ruled that the state could only offer parlay betting on NFL games because those were the type of wagers that were grandfathered into federal law. Delaware officials were hoping to offer single-game betting on a variety of sports, not just the NFL, because it would be more lucrative.

But lawyers for the major sports leagues and the NCAA, led by the National Football League, sued Delaware in July and successfully argued that the state's plans violated a 1992 federal law that banned sports betting. The law -- known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) -- exempted Delaware and three other states, but only "to the extent" that they offered sports betting previously. Delaware allowed parlay betting on NFL games in 1976, but it was such a failure that it shut it down after one season.

The full Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which consists of 12 judges, and the U.S. Supreme Court are the only courts that can overturn the decision made by the three-member panel. It is not known at this point whether the court will hear the appeal.

Delaware had originally hoped to generate more than $50 million for the state through single-game wagers as a way to help offset a $600 million budget deficit. The three racetracks -- Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway and Casino and Delaware Park -- collectively spent more than $10 million on their new sportsbooks facilities in anticipation of offering single-game wagers.

But as it stands now, only parlay and teaser betting is available on NFL games, with a minimum wager of $2. All bets must include a minimum of three games and a maximum of eight. Parlay payoffs range from 6-to-1 for a three-team parlay all the way up to 160-to-1 for an eight-team parlay. Teaser bets pay off from as little as 6-to-5 all the way up to 10-to-1.

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Best of Gary Trask
Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT