Lottery-style Wagering on the Agenda
Legal, lottery-style betting on professional and college sports events might be coming to Delaware. Several recent developments could prompt lawmakers to activate the state’s exemption from the 1992 federal law that generally bans such gambling.
The governor who opposed sports betting has departed after serving two four-year terms, the maximum allowed. The state projects an estimated $600,000,000 budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. Horse racing and slot machines, which have been the pillars of Delaware’s gaming industry, are up against challenges from the introduction and approval of slot machines in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Delaware’s House of Representatives passed a sports-betting bill in 2008, but it didn’t get past a state Senate committee because of disagreements over operational details, as well as then-Governor Ruth Ann Minner’s opposition.
House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf and Senate Majority Leader Tony DeLuca say a sports betting bill will be introduced after legislators reconvene March 17th. “A properly written bill stands a pretty good chance” of becoming law, Schwartzkopf said.
The Governor has asked the state’s finance office to speak with companines that would be interested in running a sports lottery about the amounts of direct and ancillary revenue this type of betting could produce.
Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon have exceptions to the federal sports-betting ban because they had forms of legalized pro and college sports betting before or close to the time when legislation was introduced in 1991. Nevada was the only state with largely unlimited sports betting. Delaware and Oregon had operated sports lotteries, so-named because they require players to wager on more than one outcome in a single bet, know as a parlay. Doing so creates more of an element of chance than is involved with betting on a single outcome in a sporting event.