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Delaware Reports Poor First Week of Sports Betting

21st September 2009 8:28 am GMT

With revenue figures for the first week of sports betting in Delaware well below expectations, State lawyers have filed a petition with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear arguments in a lawsuit filed by U.S. professional sports leagues and the NCAA, which successfully limited the state's sports lottery to parlay bets on NFL games.

Delaware's handle for the first week of betting since the start of the NFL season amounted to just under US$258,000, well short of the level needed to achieve the state's original revenue target of $3 million in the first year.

Delaware set its revenue target based on the assumption that it would offer single-game bets on a wide variety of sports. However an August 24th ruling by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Delaware sports lottery violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and that it was not covered by an exemption granted to the state under federal law which allows it to engage in sports betting. (more)

The case was brought by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and four professional sports leagues who argued that Delaware's entitlement to offer sports betting was limited to NFL parlay bets only, a view upheld by the court.

"The State of Delaware should have its day in court. We hope we get that opportunity," said Delaware Governor Jack Markell. "We believe there are important legal and factual questions that should be heard by the entire Court."

If unsuccessful in their appeal before the entire 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, state finance officials predict that contributions to the state's general fund in the first year of sports betting could be as low as $600,000.

Delaware's hopes to cross-sell slots gaming to sports betting customers were also dashed after net proceeds from slot machines during the first week of sports betting fell 0.3% year-on-year to $10.96 million.

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