SBD/Issue 240/Sports & Society

Court Limits Delaware Sports Betting To NFL Parlays Only

Officials At Delaware Park Still Moving Forward
With Plans To Open Sports Book By Sept. 10
The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia yesterday ruled that sports betting "cannot expand in Delaware beyond the multigame pro football wagers allowed 33 years ago," according to a front-page piece by Cris Barrish of the Wilmington NEWS JOURNAL. The court offered a "sweeping rejection of Delaware's plans to offer bets on several college and pro sports," ruling that federal law "forbids it." Single-game bets "are out," as are "bets on college games and pro baseball games, basketball games, hockey games and NASCAR races." The court ruled that each sports bet in Delaware now "must be placed on at least three National Football League games, a wager known as a parlay." Delaware Gov. Jack Markell's spokesperson Joseph Rogalsky said that the "parlay games and dollar amounts that can be bet are still being finalized," but that "all would use a point spread." Officials at Dover Downs and Delaware Park said that they were "upset by Monday's opinion but were moving forward with plans to open their sports books" by September 10, opening day of the NFL season. Meanwhile, Delaware attorneys are "reviewing options for appeal to the full 12-member court -- where experts have said Delaware would face long odds," as the state "must persuade seven of the remaining nine appeals court judges" to win an appeal. Another option "would be to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case." Barrish notes the ruling came "one week after the panel held a lengthy hearing and issued a one-paragraph order shooting down an even more ambitious plan by the state to offer bets on single games on sports other than pro football" (Wilmington NEWS JOURNAL, 9/1). Harrington Raceway & Casino CEO Patti Key said of the ruling, "It puts us at a loss in operations because most of sports betting revenue would have come from crossover play into slots." Delaware Park President & CEO Bill Fasy said that his casino is "moving forward with parlay wagering to start" September 10. Fasy added it will be "tough to break even" following yesterday's ruling, as parlay betting "would only be seasonal" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/1).

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