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Delaware sports betting: Law days away from reality

 Fans of sports betting who are lucky enough to live in Delaware will soon enjoy legal betting on sports, after the state's Senate passed the Governor Jack Markell's proposal to make sports betting legal in Delaware. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 17-2 and is now on its way for a formal signature by the Governor. Since Gov. Jack Markell was the one working on legalizing sports betting in Delaware to begin with, the bill is expected to be signed into law by the end of the week. And with the signature on the sports betting bill, Delaware will become the 4th state in the country to legalize a form of betting on sports.

 Not all is green grass, however. The new law will provide the legal mainframe for establishing a Delaware Sports Lottery, i.e. a form of parlay betting and will not legalize sports betting and bookmaking operations in the state. So if residents of the state were hoping to be able to walk in the casino and place a sports bet at a sportsbook, much to the likeness of Las Vegas, think again. For those folks offshore sportsbook such as Bodog Sports and Bookmaker remain the only option, traveling out of state and illegal bookies aside.

 The Delaware Sports Lottery will give the option to the bettors to engage in what's simply a form of parlay betting, with games and teams likely already selected by the lottery, and although the bill does legalize the option for single-game betting, this could be limited by the State's Supreme Court and leave the players with just parlay betting, something many commentators are expecting to happen. At this time the exact details of the Delaware sports betting lottery are unknown, but projections put the first year revenue for the state at over $50 million, money desperately needed to fill the $755 million hole in the state's coffers.

 "We expect that everyone involved in the administration of sports leagues, professional and college, will review today's action and evaluate its impact as other decisions are made by Delaware officials and the Delaware Supreme Court," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello was quoted commenting on the passage of the sports betting bill. "I am very pleased that the senate acted so quickly to pass the sports lottery legislation and I very much appreciate the leadership from both sides of the aisle," read part of Governor Jack Markell's statement.

 Published on 05/12/2009

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