Sports Betting Bill Becomes Law in Delaware

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Delaware may become the first state east of the Mississippi to take wagers on pro football and other contests, due to a sports betting bill recently signed into law by Delaware Governor Jack Markell. Before the bill actually turns into law, however, it’s expected that there will be court battles to stop it.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league is “not ruling anything out” on the subject of legal action to halt sports betting’s start in the state. On Thursday, the NFL revealed it had filed a brief last week with the state’s supreme court pertaining to Markell’s request for an advance ruling on the legality of single-event sports betting in the state.

Skill comes before chance in sports betting therefore, “the sports lottery proposed by the Governor is not a constitutionally permissible lottery” under state law, Kenneth Nachbar, an attorney working on behalf of the NFL, wrote in the brief.

Delaware was sued by the NFL in 1977 after the state launched its first sports lottery a year prior.

The state supreme court ruled that since “chance was the dominant, determining factor,” they sided with the NFL.

Markell said he expects to have the sports gaming running by the beginning of the NFL season. Vendors have been notified to implement the betting systems at the state’s three casinos.

The project annual amount brought in from the sports lottery is $55 million to state coffers.

“My administration is looking forward to working with our business partners. .. to make the Delaware sports lottery as successful as possible,” Markell said in a statement.

Ed Sutor, CEO of Dover Downs, said his company is working to get sports betting live before the first fall football game, even if that means operating out of the track’s horse-racing simulcast area until an empty restaurant in the casino can be renovated into a sports-betting parlor, complete with big-screen TVs.

Bill Fasy, CEO of Delaware Park, said his facility will not have to take on any extravagant chances, just training his employees in order to receive the bets.

Both executives said if everything goes as planned, they can have table games such as poker, blackjack, craps and roulette ready by the end of December.

Allowing table games was something casino executives lobbied for because they receive less of a percentage under the new law for gambling revenue.

 

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