Sports betting passes another hurdle in Delaware
June 1, 2009
The Delaware Supreme Court ruled that a law allowing sports betting does not
conflict with the state constitution, clearing the way for the First State
to become the only state to offer wagering on sports on the East Coast.
The 21-page advisory opinion, in response to Gov. Jack Markell's request, concluded that “In our opinion, the sports lottery, as defined by H.S. No. 1 to H.B. 100, satisfies the State control requirement of Article II, Section 17 and does not impermissibly delegate legislative authority to the Lottery Director. We further conclude that the Delaware Constitution allows lotteries to involve an element of skill, but only where chance predominates. Without specific details of the exact nature of an interplay of sports betting options, however, all that we can currently opine is that the Lottery Director’s designed games must assure that chance is the predominant factor.”
In early May, an amended bill to legalize sports betting at the state’s three gaming venues, currently at race tracks, made it through the House in Delaware. The bill will now move to the state Senate.
Reports say the Supreme Court opinion could lead to legal challenges, potentitally from professional sports leagues. Meanwhile, Delaware is hoping to have sports betting in time for this year's professional football season in September.
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