Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Delaware Legalizes Sports Betting And Maybe Not Just Parlays.

It has been one step backward, three steps forward, soon to be four, five, six...

The step backwards was when the Delaware House initially voted down the bill by a slim margin of two votes.

But, after some renegotiating and making the deal sweeter for the so called racinos (race tracks combined with slot machine casinos) the bill, adjusted as it was, passed the house just days later. Part of this "revamping" of the bill included what we consider the second step forward. This being the fact that the bill offers stronger language about promising the racinos table games in the near future.

And now the third step has been competed. On Tuesday, the Delaware Senate passed the bill 17-2. Governor Markell will sign the law into action later this week (four) and then the Delaware Supreme Court would vote on whether or not to allow straight bets instead of just parlays (step 5 if they allow them).

While estimates of the state budget deficit range from $600M to $800M, the governor is confident that allowing state run sports betting in Delaware will net some $50M in the first year alone. The goal is to have the sports betting mechanism implemented in time for the upcoming NFL season, by far the most bet on league in the U.S. (If you're still counting, that would be seven)

Step eight will be up to the local and not so local sports betting community and if they show up to throw down a legal bet on an NFL football game. We predict that they will show up in droves.

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Not everyone is excited about the new law. The NFL and NCAA are notably against the new bill citing jeopardizing the integrity of the game and promoting gambling among the young as their main arguments.

With Maryland just recently allowing slots in order to compete with Delaware, it remains to be seen whether a state like Maryland or other bordering states will seek to follow suit. The Governor of New Jersey has filed a suit against the Federal Government stating that it is treating the states unfairly by allowing some states (four, to be exact) to have sports betting and others not.



With politicians struggling for answers of how to dig the economy out of the current mess, this may just be one example of implementation of laws whose mere mention only recently was considered taboo. Suddenly, we have Califonrnia Governor Schwarzenegger lobbying for the legalization of marijuana and the Governor of New Jersey trying to allow for all states to decide whether or not they want to host sports betting.

Only time will tell if those efforts will be successful, but, regardless, Delaware is moving forward and, for now, moving forward alone. If successful, others, if smart, are sure to follow.

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