A federal appeals court has denied the state's request for an appeal of its decision to limit sports betting to parlays.
A federal court has denied Delaware’s request for a new hearing on its decision to limit sports betting to parlays on NFL games only.
The denial, announced Sept. 29, represents a victory for the NFL and the nation’s other major sports leagues, which sued the state in July and argued that its plan for full-service betting on a variety of professional and college sports was illegal and damaging to the leagues’ reputations.
In August, a three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled that federal law prohibits Delaware from offering single-game bets or any bets on sports other than NFL football.
The court said the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act only allows Delaware to institute sports betting “to the extent” that such a scheme was “conducted” by the state in the years prior to the law’s passage.
In 1976, Delaware offered an unsuccessful NFL parlay game that ran in the red before it was discontinued mid-season.
After the panel’s decision was handed down, the state asked the case be heard by all 12 active judges on the 3rd Circuit, a procedure known as rehearing en banc. Such a request must meet certain legal tests and a rehearing only can be granted by a majority vote of the active judges.
Some said the rehearing request was a long shot, but state officials maintained that Delaware should have “its day in court.”
“Obviously, we are disappointed with today’s ruling,” Mike Barlow, Gov. Jack Markell’s chief legal counsel, said in a statement. “We realize that it is rare that the 3rd 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.”
A statement from the court signed by Judge Thomas M. Hardiman was short and to the point. Since a majority of the 12 judges did not vote in favor of a rehearing, the request was denied, it read.
In his statement Barlow highlighted the fact that the NFL fell short of its ultimate goal.
“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”
The state could take its case to the U.S. Supreme Court, but officials have given no indication that they plan to do so.