n July, Delaware passed legislation that legalised sportsbetting in casinos including on single events with Governor Jack Markell subsequently signing the measure into law.
However, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) joined with every major professional sports league in America including the National Football League (NFL) soon after to seek an injunction against the state on the grounds that such a scheme would lead to increased risks of match-fixing.
Owing to a brief experiment with parlay sportsbetting in 1976, Delaware is one of four states along with Oregon, Montana and Nevada that were thought to be exempt from the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act. Backing up this belief, Chief District Judge Gregory Sleet at first denied the injunction before a three-judge ruling from the higher Third Circuit Court Of Appeals reversed this decision in late-August.
An appeal to the Third Circuit Court Of Appeals in Philadelphia one month later was denied leaving Delaware only permitted to offer three-game parlay bets on NFL games. Governor Markell stated afterwards that further legal action was unlikely but the state recently requested an extension until the end of January to consider its options.
The state has now petitioned the US Supreme Court for an appeal to overturn the Third Circuit Court Of Appeals ruling while hiring the Washington, DC-based law firm Sidley Austin. All legal costs are set to be paid by the state's three casinos, Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway, with Brian Selander, a spokesperson for Governor Markell, revealing that Delaware will offer some new arguments in the appeal.
“We think it's a worthwhile investment on our part,” said Ed Sutor, Chief Executive Officer for Dover Downs. “We agreed this is something we'll take the risk on.”