Third Circuit denies Del. in sports-betting case

John O'Brien Sep. 29, 2009, 3:49pm


PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Tuesday denied the State of Delaware's request for a rehearing in a lawsuit brought by five sports organization over a proposed sports-betting law.

Attorneys for Gov. Jack Markell and State Lottery Office Commissioner Wayne Lemons had criticized a final order by U.S. District Judge Gregory Sleet that prohibited betting on any sports other than professional football and single-game bets on the NFL.

The NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and NCAA filed suit against the State in federal court after the Delaware Supreme Court ruled the proposed law constitutional.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, enacted in 1992, prohibited most states from offering sports betting, but four states were grandfathered in the legislation because they had previously operated it. Delaware was one of the states.

The complaint says Delaware, though, had never offered single-game wagering during its 1976 sports lottery, which only allowed parley bets on NFL games.

Since Delaware didn't allow single-game betting then, it shouldn't be able to now, the sports leagues said.

A three-judge panel on the Third Circuit agreed with the sports leagues' arguments and remanded the matter to Sleet, who signed an order consistent with its findings.

Sleet had denied the plaintiffs' request for a temporary injunction that would have prevented betting from taking place until the issue was resolved. A trial was scheduled for December.

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