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NFL goes to higher court for injunction against Delaware betting

The NFL, along with the other major sports leagues and the NCAA, has sued Delaware in an effort to block its plan to permit betting on sports.

As part of the broader legal strategy, the NFL initially tried to obtain a ruling blocking Delaware from introducing its new gambling program until the lawsuit is resolved.

The effort failed before a federal judge in Delaware.  So now the league is taking the fight to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

On Monday, lawyers will make their arguments before a three-judge panel in Philadelphia. 

The legal standard for a preliminary injunction will be the same before the appellate court as it was before the trial court — it’s a complex and malleable stew of factors that consider whether the sports leagues will suffer “irreparable harm” if Delaware is permitted to proceed, whether the NFL and its cohorts have shown a sufficient likelihood of ultimately winning, whether the hardships suffered by Delaware in pulling the plug will outweigh the damage to the sports leagues, and whether the public interest favors the entry of an injunction.

As A.J. Perez of USA Today reports, there’s some debate regarding the meaning of the federal statute that prohibits sports betting, and that permits states that had sports betting programs from 1976 through 1990 to resurrect the activity.  This reality alone could make it much harder for the sports leagues to establish a sufficient likelihood of successfully proving that Delaware is violating the terms of the relevant federal law.

That said, as the StarCaps case demonstrated last year, a preliminary injunction can be secured even where the plaintiff ultimately loses.

Still, it’s always a long shot to secure a preliminary injunction.  In this case, the effort demonstrates the extent to which the NFL is willing to fight against the expansion of gambling.

Except for lottery tickets.

And, yeah, we realize that the NFL can tolerate games of chance unrelated to the outcome of football games.  But we still think that many average persons don’t comprehend the distinction.

We also think that, if the NFL were fully committed to preventing the influence of gambling from potentially undermining the integrity of the sport, the league would beef up the injury-reporting rules to the point where Belichick-Mangini shenanigans would not be tolerated, ever.

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5 Responses to “NFL goes to higher court for injunction against Delaware betting”
  1. Newguy says: Aug 24, 2009 10:33 AM

    “Except for lottery tickets.” and illegal betting rings on dog fighting and other non-NFL games.
    As long as the bet isn’t on an NFL game, it isn’t a problem (see Pete Rose.) After all the folks who would want to influence a game are not likely to become involved with just any old illegal gambling operation (yeah, right.)
    The hearing is in Philly, huh? That’s close to Del isn’t it?

  2. dawk20db says: Aug 24, 2009 10:37 AM

    I think you need to give the “average persons” in this case a little more credit Mike. That is a pretty easy distinction to make.
    Of course, you don’t have to read more than 20 comments on PFT to realize that the average reader is FAR from an average person.

  3. Complete Fan says: Aug 24, 2009 1:06 PM

    Nice to see the NFL, which everyone knows is popular ONLY because it’s the most widely-gambled-on sport in the world, is taking such a strong stance against gambling.
    The most hypocritical sports league in history.

  4. leatherneck says: Aug 24, 2009 1:34 PM

    Florio, on your front page, you’ve got one ad that promises cash for playing fantasy football. Then you’ve got another ad offering Power something or other for playing cards online.
    Are you personally receiving payments by advertisers who offer gambling-related services? If so, that might be a conflict of interest in your reporting about the NFL’s anti-gambling lawsuit.
    Maybe that’s why you’re so critical?
    I don’t know. I’m just asking questions.
    I think you should come clean about this.

  5. sn@ke says: Aug 24, 2009 1:37 PM

    The NFL is ONLY popular because of gambling, c’mon man, that’s just silly.
    I wont argue that gambling and fantasy football help make it more popular, but the ONLY reason….stop it.

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