Delaware passes sportsbetting bill - update

Following the approval of the Delaware state Senate earlier this week (see previous InfoPowa reports) Governor Jack Markell has moved swiftly on his measure to legalise sports betting, signing it into law almost immediately. The details will now be worked out in collaboration with the state Supreme Court, reports MSNBC.

The move makes Delaware the first state east of the Mississippi River to legalise sports betting and only the second in the country to do so in a move designed to cut budget deficits. Delaware now joins Nevada as the only states to allow sports betting.

Governor Markell chose Delaware's oldest racetrack as the venue for the signing; the state's three racinos will add sports wagering to their 8 200 slot machines and horse-betting operations around September 2009.

“There is tremendous interest in the sports lottery throughout our region and nationally,” Markell said at the signing this week, adding that Delaware expects to cuts its $778 million budget deficit by more than $50 million through sports betting and an increase in the state’s share of slot-machine money.

State officials and legal representatives will now work with the state's Supreme Court to determine what types of bet can be permitted in terms of the state's constitution, which lays down that only lottery-style games are legal. In the past that has been interpreted to mean players must choose more than one outcome with each bet by choosing a winner for more than one game, report analysts at the Bloomberg news service.

Markell’s spokesman Joe Rogalsky said that once the Supreme Court gives the state advice on what is legal, Delaware will search for a vendor to design and run a sports-betting program that sets the odds for all three racinos.

The new law excludes college games in which any Delaware college or university plays, and sets a minimum age of 21 for punters.

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