Permanent injunction granted in sports-betting case

By John O'Brien | Sep 1, 2009


WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) - Following an appellate ruling, a federal judge in Delaware entered an order Tuesday that will prevent the State from instituting much of its proposed sports-betting scheme.

Gregory Sleet, the chief judge for the Delaware district, signed a permanent injunction that prevents any betting on sports other than the NFL and allows only three-game parleys on those games.

"We are very pleased that the Court has entered this order," said Kenneth Nachbar of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and NCAA filed suit in federal court against Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and State Lottery Office Director Wayne Lemons after the state Supreme Court approved the plan in May.

Sleet had denied the plaintiffs' request for a temporary injunction that would have prevented betting from taking place until the issue was resolved. A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia decided last week that Delaware's plan violated a 1992 law.

The Third Circuit vacated Sleet's order denying the motion for preliminary junction and remanded the matter back to him for proceedings consistent with its opinion.

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 trial was scheduled for December.

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

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