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Monday, August 24, 2009
3rd Circuit Rejects Delaware Sports Lottery Proposal

Gabe has previously discussed the lawsuit filed by the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and NCAA seeking to prevent Delaware from effectively implementing legalized sports gambling as part of the state's lottery program. Earlier this month, the federal district court denied the leagues' and the NCAA's request for a preliminary injunction which would have prevented Delaware from offering single-game betting beginning next month. Today the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held an oral argument in the leagues' and NCAA's appeal from the district court's decision, and ruled that Delaware's proposal, as currently envisioned, violates the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. A written opinion is expected at a later date.

On first impression, this appears to be a big win for the professional sports leagues and the NCAA, and a substantial set-back for the State of Delaware. Indeed, rather than limiting itself to the injunction issue that was before it, the appeals court went ahead and issued a ruling on the ultimate merits of the dispute. Delaware must now decide whether to seek an en banc rehearing before the entire Third Circuit, or possibly petition the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. In the meantime, however, despite today's ruling, Delaware may nevertheless proceed next month with a lottery game offering parlay bets on NFL contests, which the leagues conceded would be legal under Delaware's prior, limited exemption to the PASPA.


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