Petition for appeal coming in sports-betting case

John O'Brien Jan. 19, 2010, 12:58pm


PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) - The State of Delaware has until Jan. 27 to file its petition for appeal of a decision that prohibited single-game betting on sports events.

Gov. Jack Markell and State Lottery Office Director Wayne Lemons asked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito for an extension to file their petition, and Alito complied. They want the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to review a district court decision.

That decision was entered after a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit ordered it. The Third Circuit has already denied Delaware's petition request for a rehearing.

Delaware's attorneys wrote that the state "is continuing to confront a budgetary emergency."

"This case presents important questions of federalism and preemption in statutory interpretation," the petition says.

The NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and NCAA filed suit against the State in federal court after the Delaware Supreme Court ruled a proposed sports-betting 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 parlay 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 U.S. District Judge Gregory Sleet, who signed an order consistent with its findings.

The order also only permitted betting on NFL games.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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