The legalisation of sportsbetting in Delaware successfully passed through its final stages into law this week as the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the legislation does not conflict with the state constitution, paving the way for Delaware to become the only state east of the Rocky Mountains to allow wagering on the outcome of games.
In a 22-page ruling, the court said the state constitution permits lotteries that have an element of skill, as long as chance is the predominant factor in winning or losing, reports Associated Press. The opinion comes in response to Governor Jack Markell's request for the court's views.
"I am very pleased with the Supreme Court's decision," said Markell, who has fought for the lottery to help overcome a projected revenue shortfall of more than $600 million for the upcoming fiscal year.
"This decision resolves the legal issues that have been presented and provides a solid legal framework for our sports lottery."
The court considered Markell's plans for a sports lottery that would allow straight bets on the outcome of athletic events, using a point spread or money line to ensure roughly equal amounts of wagers on each side; over/under betting on the total score of a game; and parlay bets in which players must select two or more elements, such as the winner of two or games or two or more over/under bets.
In a sop for the national sports leagues, which are unhappy with the legalisation move in Delaware, the law specifically excludes wagers on games involving college, amateur or Delaware-based professional teams. The National Football League fielded a lawyer to argue against the proposal before the Supreme Court last week.
State officials have now commenced a search for the right suppliers to oversee the lottery, and will be finalising the rules and regulations with the goal of having sports betting in place for the start of this year's NFL regular season in September 2009.
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