NFL Could Be Battling Delaware

For years, American corporations have filed their primordial documents in Delaware, due to the business-friendly laws that Delaware passed for the very purpose of attracting such activities.
But now there’s one fairly major American business that isn’t happy with Delaware.  And said American business could be doing something about it.
Delaware is moving toward legalizing sports betting, and the NFL’s opposition to it ultimately could take the form of a lawsuit.
Delaware Governor Jack Markell is expected to sign the bill into law today.  But none of it will be finalized until the Delaware Supreme Court determines the specific types of gambling that federal law and the Delaware constitution will permit.
The NFL recently submitted a brief to the Delaware Supreme Court explaining that betting on sporting events falls beyond the scope of what the Delaware constitution allows.
Basically, the NFL takes the position that “‘skill’ plays an impermissible role” in sports wagering, and the league explains that it’s a far cry from a lottery determined by chance.
This suggests to us that the legal standard the Delaware Supreme Court will be applying is whether and to what extent the proposed gambling activities constitute a lottery determined by chance.
A hearing on the issue will be held on May 21, and a decision likely will come not long thereafter.
Meanwhile, folks who support betting on football and other sporting events are taking the position that the NFL is publicly opposing the move because it has to — even though the NFL and the other pro sports associations realize that gambling generates more interest in the sport.
“The leagues know they need the gambling, yet they have to appear as if they’re completely against it,” gambling expert Steve Budin tells Thursday’s edition of the Wilmington News Journal.
Budin explained that, late in a game during which the outcome is decided but the question of whether the favored team will beat the point spread isn’t, the gamblers will continue to watch — even though the non-gamblers have long since changed the channel.
“The only people watching and seeing the beer commercials or the car commercials [at that stage of the game] are the bettors,” Budin said.
Still, once the NFL unleashes the folks from Covington & Burling, the NFL typically prevails.  Even if the NFL doesn’t really care whether it wins.
Besides, the current issue in Delaware is only whether gambling will be legalized.  Everyone with any common sense realizes that, regardless of whether it’s legal, folks who want to gamble will still find a way to do it.  In Delaware, the only question is whether the government will get a piece of the action.

34 responses to “NFL Could Be Battling Delaware

  1. Such hypocrisy… Does the NFL have a problem with sports betting in Las Vegas? Ask yourself why the NFL puts out an Injury Report. 99% of the reason to make it easier for oddsmakers to handicap games.

  2. RobJH – what’s funny is the reasoning the NFL used to release the injury report was in part, to combat gambling.
    Back in the day coaches would withold injuries until gametime to use as an element of suprise. However well connected gamblers were getting this info and using it to bet.
    The NFL ordered the injury list to be reported to the public to stop coaches from hiding info and to stop these gamblers from gathering and using inside info.
    But now the injury report gives a level playing field to all gamblers.

  3. Ok, as a Brit this has always mystified me: what the hell is with the ban on sports betting? When does it originate from, and why was it implemented? And why doesn’t it apply in Vegas? And in the internet age, how on earth does anyone think (or pretend with a straight face) that it’s in any way enforceable?

  4. never saw the big deal with sports gambling anyway, does the NFL really think it only happens in Vegas? It happens in every state, in every city, town and village. Make it legal throughout the country, they did it with OTB.

  5. Well… I suppose there should be SOMETHING interesting about Delaware. Why not gambling?

  6. Delaware needs the money to add extra lanes to their portion of 95 and extra staffing for their tollbooths. Driving from Philly to Baltimore is like smashing your nuts with a rubber mallet.

  7. TCLARK says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 8:33 am
    I didn’t truely LOVE the NFL until I STOPPED betting on it.
    I totally see that, cause once you start betting the NFL looks like a bunch of rigged bullshit. And this is coming from someone who does pretty well betting, no sour grapes.
    My favorite team is the one I have money on, plain and simple.

  8. @ Mr Shush
    You must remember that the US only talks about freedom, we are pretty free here, but Congress has been systematicaly taking that freedom away since we passed the 17th amendment back in 1913.
    I cant even drink a freakin’ beer outside here……

  9. I would take a guess that the NFL probably doesn’t like it because they aren’t getting a cut from it.

  10. “Still, once the NFL unleashes the folks from Covington & Burling, the NFL typically prevails.”
    !!!!???
    ARE U FKM?
    the NFL has been STUNNINGLY bad in court cases, especially those in which C&B were their attorneys
    they’ve lost unlosable cases–literally unlosable, but they did it
    (Al Davis, USFL, etc etc)

  11. “Ask yourself why the NFL puts out an Injury Report. 99% of the reason to make it easier for oddsmakers to handicap games.”
    It only took about an hour of me being awake to deem something the most ignorant thing I’ve heard, and will hear, all day.

  12. I, for one, welcome our Gridiron Overlords. I can’t wait til they start telling my state what should constitute law here in Wisconsin.
    All praise be to Goodell!

  13. Peskypole – Sure, the NFL may have made injury reports available to the public for the reason you indicated, but you have to admit it’s a joke. Bill Belichick had Tom Brady listed on his injury report every week (prior to last season of course). The “public” injury report is such a crock as it’s nothing more than diversion & smoke screen for opposing teams and talking points for the talking heads.

  14. Mr Shush:
    “Ok, as a Brit this has always mystified me: what the hell is with the ban on sports betting? When does it originate from, and why was it implemented? And why doesn’t it apply in Vegas? And in the internet age, how on earth does anyone think (or pretend with a straight face) that it’s in any way enforceable?”
    It all goes back to the anti-gambling religious laws that many towns here had 200-300 years ago. Now, it’s hard to undo all that stuff, as those for the ban keep coming up with stupid, illogical reasons. Basically, if your starting point is “gambling is bad…mkay,” then you’re not likely to budge.
    My biggest gripe is the argument that the government is “protecting” us. Yes, they are keeping me safe by forcing me to either interact with potentially violent criminals or placing my money in unsecure offshore betting accounts.
    Of course, I could stop betting, but I could say that about drinking, smoking, eating trans fats, buying lottery tickets, and so on.

  15. BayBridgeTunnel says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 9:05 am
    TCLARK says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 8:33 am
    I didn’t truely LOVE the NFL until I STOPPED betting on it.
    I totally see that, cause once you start betting the NFL looks like a bunch of rigged bullshit. And this is coming from someone who does pretty well betting, no sour grapes.
    My favorite team is the one I have money on, plain and simple.
    Exactly. I would rather root for my team instead of my $$$. Monday-Friday is for cash the weekends are for me. I had Sundays that I made more $$$ then I did Monday-Friday but I also had Sundays when I lost everything I would have made from Monday- Friday. I really don’t mis it. I do miss the Saturday night/Sunday morning high of crunching #’s to make my final (best) choices. But I don’t miss rooting for stupid shit to happen or prying for the impossible just to cover the spread. Boy they are good at making spreads.

  16. How can the league file suit against a state over state laws? It sounds a little to much like the morality police for me. If the league needs to take a stand, they should start with the plethora of knuckleheads that keep the “days without an arrest” meter stay in the single and double digits. In my opinion, this type of suit should not be allowed. The NFL is a private organization that has no business getting involved with state law makers.

  17. “Delaware isnt NY and the C & B boys better bring their A++ game. ”
    I dunno, it’s not like Joe Biden is the shiniest penny in the roll.

  18. Pretty dumb lawsuit. It’s a lottery. There’s absolutely no skill involved, it’s 100% chance. They’re not going to be picking against a spread, guessing overs and unders etc. Think ping pong balls in a cage. BINGO.

  19. Back in the mid-1970’s Delaware had a weekly NFL betting “ticket” run by the Delaware Lottery. The NFL sued the state but I don’t think anything developed. It only lasted one season – fans would rather bet with the bookies than with the state.

  20. If you don’t like the tolls – take Amtrak. There is such a high volume of traffic that travels over that short piece of I-95 that the road is constantly in need of repair. It’s probably the worst stretch of pavement in the state.
    Delaware is trying to do this to overcome a budget deficit. This may allow them to lessen the proposed pay cut to all state workers – not a pay freeze, but an actual pay cut. There is a proposed 8% pay cut for all state employees. Some will get hit by nearly double that because of changes to health benefits. I know someone who’s looking at a 14-15% pay cut. Many state employees are nearing retirement age for whom this will be a serious hit. The recession is bad enough, the pay freezes that have been in effect in many states and jobs make it worse, a pay cut would be that much worse. People already don’t have enough money to spend to get the economy turned around and the cost of living keeps increasing. I work in a commission sales job selling TVs and appliances where business is at a fraction of what it was just a year ago, and it’s only getting worse. People are going to gamble. No one is suing Montana and Nevada. Why should all the offshore companies get all the money. This is one industry that could actually stop being outsourced and could create new jobs and new revenues here in the states. Why is this such a bad thing? (note: I don’t gamble)
    Also, as far as Covington & Burling, I assume that they are not the only firm working on this. Delaware has very tight bar restrictions in order to keep most attorneys admitted to the Delaware Bar working in DE in order to limit how many out of state firms have lawyers who are admitted to the Delaware Bar just for the heck of it. The Delaware Bar Exam is considered one of, if not the, toughest in the country. There is only one law school in DE – Widener, which isn’t a top tier law school that sends a lot of graduates to the big shot law firms – so most law school graduates from other schools aren’t prepared for the DE Bar as well as Widener graduates, which makes it that much tougher. I’ve known Georgetown graduates who couldn’t pass the bar here.
    NFL – there isn’t even a team in Delaware, leave us alone. Hypocrites.

  21. I live in Montana, where the state lottery runs a fantasy football and fantasy nascar game. Winners are based on actual game and race stats, I’m sure the NFL and Nascar dont approve of it. Check it out at http://www.montanalottery.com.

  22. 1st let me insert my personnal opinion. Making sports gambling legal takes away from the purity of the games. You end up with big money, outside interests putting up large amounts of cash to make sure their interests are met (like we need lobbiests in pro sports also, or more Tim Donaghys). The team with the most outside money supporting it will inevitably be the one that wins the most.
    2nd, if states legalize sports gambling, then the governing bodies of the pro leagues will not be the only ones controlling the outcomes of games (i.e. the NBA wanting the Boston Celtics to go to the finals).

  23. You know why people who gamble are the biggest fans? Because most people who gamble on sports know more than the average fan who supports a team because they happen to be good all of a sudden (cough…Washington Capitals “fans”…cough…75% of Red Sox fans…cough…).
    Think about it, betting happens at all levels whether it’s a bet for lunch, or one that calls for someone to do something unsavory to their physical appearance. Betting on sports is no different than investing in a stock, aside from the fact that people who bet on sports probably do more research than people who invest in stocks because the statiscal info is easier to decipher and there are more breakdowns readily available and for free, the success of a stock has way too many variables that are unforseen (a stock can be talked up or talked down and, let’s face it, people don’t have the patience to wait for it to settle), it’s a lot easier to bet on sports than to invest in a stock (if I wanted to invest in something right now, I would have to sign up for an account where I would have to pay commission and quarterly fees, and there is so much shady stuff going on in corporations that I could think I am sitting on a gold mine but it ends up being fool’s gold.
    Sure, sports also has a lot of unforseen incidents, but when you’re betting on sports you put your money up for the short run (unless it’s a season long prop bet) and things are easier to control in the short run. Stocks are typically for long run investments, and the long run is much more difficult to anticipate or control.

  24. Sports gambling isn’t going away. Apparently the solution is to keep as much of it in the hands of organized crime and offshore companies with little to no regulation instead of being regulated and watched by the government here at home. Good idea.

  25. There are 2 reasons why the NFL is wildly popular.
    1. Fantasy Football
    2. Gambling
    The NFL knows this, however, they have to appear to be against gambling.

  26. drslick01 says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 11:51 am
    There are 2 reasons why the NFL is wildly popular.
    1. Fantasy Football
    2. Gambling
    The NFL knows this, however, they have to appear to be against gambling.
    Totaly agree. Thats why the league keeps changing it’s rules to create more offense. To me it’s kind of ruining the game.

  27. Mr Shush says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 7:37 am
    Ok, as a Brit this has always mystified me: what the hell is with the ban on sports betting? When does it originate from, and why was it implemented? And why doesn’t it apply in Vegas? And in the internet age, how on earth does anyone think (or pretend with a straight face) that it’s in any way enforceable?

    It’s to keep the game as honest as possible. If the NFL endorsed gambling, they’d increase the likelihood of players and refs throwing games in an attempt to earn extra money on the side.

  28. Congratulations NFL on acknowledging the state of Delaware. It’s taken years for this sports betting law to finally get voted through, and now the NFL decides they’re the people to stop it. Really? Well let me introduce you to Congress’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that was passed in 1992 banning sports betting from all but 4 states, Delaware being one of those. So good luck with a legal battle you won’t win. With Philly, Atlantic City, DC, and Baltimore all sitting right next to Delaware, the state needs any help it can get, and the NFL has no business trying to determine the direction of a state that doesn’t even have a professional team, let alone an NFL team.

  29. Meh. I can see how it could be an issue at NCAA level, but NFL, MLB and NBA players are so well remunerated that their careers are worth more to them than any amount of money they’d be offered by gambling interests. In Europe, where gambling is legal in almost every nation, suspect gambling patterns suggestive of corruption tend to occur around the lower levels of professional soccer, not in the Premiership or Serie A. There was the famous case of South African cricket captain Hanse Cronje – but until very, very recently top cricketers were not especially well paid. Soccer really is the only true major sport over here. I guess maybe the NCAA is the real point: I can think of no analogue to this bizarre case of amateur sport which millions of people follow and care about. Still, the big money sports betting syndicates are Chinese. I don’t suppose they give a rat’s arse about US gambling laws.

  30. Mr Shush says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 5:48 pm
    Meh. I can see how it could be an issue at NCAA level, but NFL, MLB and NBA players are so well remunerated that their careers are worth more to them than any amount of money they’d be offered by gambling interests.

    Really? Guess neither Mike Vick nor Pete Rose got that memo.
    And players aren’t the only ones who might be prone to corruption due to gambling. Just ask Tim Donaghy.

    In Europe, where gambling is legal in almost every nation, suspect gambling patterns suggestive of corruption tend to occur around the lower levels of professional soccer, not in the Premiership or Serie A. There was the famous case of South African cricket captain Hanse Cronje – but until very, very recently top cricketers were not especially well paid. Soccer really is the only true major sport over here. I guess maybe the NCAA is the real point: I can think of no analogue to this bizarre case of amateur sport which millions of people follow and care about. Still, the big money sports betting syndicates are Chinese. I don’t suppose they give a rat’s arse about US gambling laws.

    Well, all of that is merely semantics. You asked why the league might be opposed to gambling. My answer was to simply keep the game as honest as possible. Yes gambling still occurs and yes it will continue to occur. That doesn’t mean the league is just going to suddenly come out publicly and be for it, even though secretly they are.
    The other aspect I think folks are missing is this: From TFA, and according to secinfo.com, the NFL is registered as a Delaware Corporation. Having the state in which they “reside” legalize gambling without the NFL coming out and publicly opposing it sends the message that they’re ok with it. They have to fight it publicly, even though privately they could probably care less. It’s more a PR thing than anything.

  31. @44-6-andthenRomofainted :
    “Delaware needs the money to add extra lanes to their portion of 95 and extra staffing for their tollbooths. Driving from Philly to Baltimore is like smashing your nuts with a rubber mallet.”
    Comment of the year!!!
    Florio, you should (not) give this person three or four copies of your book!

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