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Parlay betting in Delaware will continue, single-game betting isn't dead yet

Lost in the news that the legal fight regarding Delaware’s ability to take bets on single NFL games (and any other sport) has ended is the fact that the NFL no longer will challenge the ability of Delaware to offer three-game parlay wagers.

Last year, the NFL took the position that the Delaware constitution prohibits sports wagering, because it permits lotteries based only on chance, not skill.  The Delaware Supreme Court issued a non-binding advisory opinion finding that the three-game parlay wagers do not violate the Delaware constitution.

The federal lawsuit filed in July by the NFL and other sports leagues primarily attacked the ability of Delaware to offer wagering on one game at a time.  However, the lawsuit also requested a blanket finding that the entire gambling program, which includes parlay wagering, violates the Delaware constitution.

A federal law passed in 1992 prohibits sports wagering, but it carved out an exception for states that had offered such betting between 1976 and 1990.  Since Delaware allowed three-game NFL parlay cards for a brief time in 1976 (they scuttled it after staggering losses due to poorly-set betting lines, which tends to undermine the notion that it’s a lottery based on chance), the federal courts found that only the three-game NFL parlay cards could be used going forward.

In the wake of Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court not to review the finding that the 1992 federal law blocks single-game betting, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tells us that the league no longer is challenging the question of whether the Delaware constitution prevents three-game parlay bets.  “We are not litigating it,” Aiello said via e-mail.  “The Delaware Supreme Court offered an advisory opinion that the three-game parlay does not violate the Delaware Constitution.  That was the end of the issue for us.”

Based on the language of the federal lawsuit filed after the advisory opinion was published, the issue technically still remained in play.  At some point since July 2009, however, the NFL has decided not to fight the parlay-card approach, despite the concerns that the league previously has articulated regarding the proximity of legal NFL wagering to multiple cities containing pro football teams:  Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York.

And it’s also not out of the question that single-game wagering eventually will be used in Delaware.  A lawsuit filed by New Jersey officials against the Justice Department seeks a finding that the 1992 federal law discriminates against states that did not have sports wagering between the relevant period from 1976 through 1990.  If that lawsuit, which is still pending, succeeds, Delaware and any other state would be permitted, as a matter of federal law, to take bets on NFL games.

At that point, the league’s challenge based on the Delaware constitution surely would be dusted off, especially since the Delaware Supreme Court’s advisory opinion did not address whether single-game betting constitutes “chance” or “skill.”

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8 Responses to “Parlay betting in Delaware will continue, single-game betting isn't dead yet”
  1. Reggie'sBush says: May 4, 2010 9:17 AM

    Yes great idea! I’d rather gamble my money with my offshore Colombian betting line, or the Italian dudes in New Jersey…
    This is way worse than giving your money away on the lotto? It’s fact that government lottery pays out less than casinos. How is gambling in Delaware or any other state so much worse than gambling in Las Vegas or a resevoir?
    Of course 3 team parlays are for suckers… That’s when sportsbooks get happy when an idiot plays this. Put it at single game bets and I will drive to Delaware and put my bets in, as Vegas is too far from NY.

  2. XLI says: May 4, 2010 9:22 AM

    How dare you attack the beloved Parlay?
    “FREE THE PARLAY!” … (and instead “Lock up Big Ben.”)
    You can take my freedom, but don’t take my Parlay.

  3. davidm1886 says: May 4, 2010 9:25 AM

    if delaware can gamble they BETTER allow jersey and PA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. BigBear123 says: May 4, 2010 9:42 AM

    Didn’t think about it after reading last article, but the reason is to cash in on division championship games and the SB.
    2-3 games parlays are just as easy as single games and offer better returns, in Vegas anyways. Varies by week and I do both, but 2-3 games is not hard to play.

  5. Richm2256 says: May 4, 2010 9:54 AM

    Parlay???
    Jack Sparrow is involved in this mess????

  6. mburger13 says: May 4, 2010 9:57 AM

    Delaware Lottery already allows for video poker and video blackjack, both considered skill games.

  7. LPH says: May 4, 2010 11:13 AM

    Single-game wagering is much more attractive than 3-team parlays, but all Delaware has to do to increase traffic is to adjust the payoff to make it worthwhile. In a 3-team parlay the bettor has one chance in 9 of winning, but if he does win, the payoff is only 6-1. Make the payoff higher (7.5-1, for example) and the state will see more action.
    BTW, the NFL is knee-deep in hypocracy on this issue. The league is as big as it is because of gambling.

  8. jerseykingpin says: May 4, 2010 11:47 AM

    Wish they could bring it to Jersey But with all the sports teams there noway . NFL already said if you have a team and you bring in sprots betting say goodbye to your teams

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