August 24, 2009

Appeals court rejects Delaware betting law

The U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Monday struck down a law passed by the Delaware General Assembly to implement single-game sports betting in the state.

The court ruled that the legislation violates the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

Congress, in passing that law, exempted Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon from a federal ban on sports betting. Delaware was exempted because it had previously conducted a parlay betting sports lottery on football in 1976.

The circuit court said Monday that just because Delaware once allowed parlay betting, it could not now expand that to single-game betting.

Attorneys for major sports leagues and the NCAA had argued against the Delaware legislation.

When Congress enacted PASPA, they understood that there's a certain amount of sports betting, but that sports betting shouldn't be expanded, said attorney Kenneth J. Nachbar, who represented the pro leagues and the NCAA. It shouldn't be expanded to the East Coast, it shouldn't be expanded beyond where it's conducted now and it won't be as a result of this ruling.

Delaware can appeal the circuit court's decision.