Delaware sportsbetting appeal denied

Request for rehearing denied

The state of Delaware's appeal of a ruling that its plan to allow betting on professional sports violates a federal ban will not be heard, a federal court ruled on Tuesday, reports the Reuters news agency.

Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, denied the request for a rehearing before the larger court.

Hardiman was one of the three judges who ruled unanimously in August that Delaware's plan to allow point-spread bets on individual games in all major sports from three racetrack casinos violated federal law.

"Obviously, we are disappointed with today's ruling", Michael Barlow, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell's legal counsel, said in a statement. "We realize that it is rare that the Third Circuit will hear cases with all 12 active judges, but this was an important issue for the state of Delaware and we thought the state should have a chance to make its case at trial."

Delaware could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, but Markell spokesman Joe Ragolsky said that was unlikely.

The state can only offer parlay bets - which depend on the outcome of several matches - on National Football League games.

"It is important to remember that the NFL tried to shut down Delaware's sports lottery entirely, but today Delaware has the only legal sports wagering east of the Rocky Mountains," Barlow added. "The sports lottery has already - in three weeks - had more wagered than the entire 1976 Delaware sports lottery season."

Markell signed the betting law in May, saying at the time it would bring in $50 million and help close the state's budget shortfall, which for fiscal 2010 has been estimated at $800 million.

The North American professional leagues for baseball, basketball, football and hockey filed suit to block the state's plan, arguing it violated federal law and that it might taint their sports with accusations of cheating.

The NCAA, or National Collegiate Athletic Association, also joined the complaint by the leagues.

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