Delaware Appeals Ruling on Sports Betting

Delaware has appealed a court ruling on sports betting.

Delaware has asked the full Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit a decision made by a three-judge panel to authorize only limited sports betting at three racetracks in the state.

The appeals court earlier in September said the state can offer only three-team-minimum parlay wagering on NFL games. State officials had planned to offer single-game wagers as well as bets on other sports, but that plan was shot down.

The difference in revenue between the two options could be huge; Delaware planned to use the revenue to help balance its budget.

The appeal was filed Sept. 14. Attorneys for the state claim the appeals court ruling is contrary to previous rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Delaware was exempted from a federal ban on sports betting because it conducted an NFL sports lottery in 1976.

Sports betting launched at Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway & Casino Sept. 10, but officials are unsure how much revenue limited parlay wagering will generate. The state was banking on tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year, and the tracks spent millions of dollars to upgrade existing race books that previously offer only full-card simulcasts.

Under a deal with horsemen, the racetracks will pay 9.6% of revenue from sports betting to purses. Horsemen receive 9% of revenue from VLTs; legislation awards purses 4.5% of revenue from table games when they become operational at the tracks.