Keeps wagering limited to multi-game bets on NFL games

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Monday an appeal by the state of Delaware to expand its sports-betting offerings beyond professional football.

The justices denied Delaware’s petition for judicial review without comment, leaving in place a ruling last fall by a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that limits Delaware to multi-game bets on National Football League games and prohibits it from offering the more popular and lucrative single-game wagering allowed in Las Vegas.

The appeals court also ruled that Delaware could not offer parlay betting beyond NFL games.

In rejecting the appeal, the high court thwarted efforts by Gov. Jack Markell to use expanded sports betting to help close the state’s budget gap. The state hoped sports betting on the 2009 NFL season would raise about $53 million for the treasury, mostly from a combination of increased traffic to the state’s three racinos and crossover play by those wagering on games. But with a reduced number of games to wager on and fewer bettors in the casinos, the figure raised was about $41.3 million.

In New Jersey, a lawmaker told The Philadelphia Inquirer the ruling would “have no legal effect” on his lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department which seeks to overturn the U.S. Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The act restricts sports betting to four states: Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware.

The suit by state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D., Union) is pending.

Yet Monday’s ruling could help Atlantic City in one respect, Lesniak said: “Delaware won’t have this form of expanded gambling to lure customers from Atlantic City to its racinos.”