According to an article in today’s Washington Times, the state of Delaware is “on the verge of instituting sports betting.” Not only that, but New Jersey and Maryland may follow suit.

Right now, Nevada is the only state that allows legalized sports betting. In fact, there is a federal law which prohibits it in other states. Oregon, Montana and Delaware were exempted from the ban because they already had state laws on the books permitting sports betting (although there currently is no vehicle to do so,)

The state of Delaware has come to depend on the revenues it generates from gambling to fund its government. Delaware has allowed slot machines at its horse tracks for a number of years. Last year Pennsylvania legalized slot machines at 14 casinos for more than 70,000 slot machines. That Pennsylvania law has devastated Delaware. As the Times article states, “bettors in nearby states who used to travel to Delaware to gamble can stay right at home to donate their money to the one-armed bandits.”

In response, Delaware is going to legalize sports betting. It’s simply a way to make up for the lost slot machine revenue.

Last week, the Delaware state House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow betting on professional and college sports at state casinos. It now moves onto the Senate, where it likely will pass.

Naturally, the NFL, NBA, MLB and the NCAA are freaking out. The NFL placed ads opposing the law in local newspapers. The NFL last week ran an ad in the Wilmington News Journal arguing to “Keep Vegas in Vegas” and suggesting that “Sports Betting = More Problems, Not More Revenue.”

As the Washington Times points out, “It’s a losing battle.”

Delaware (and its politicians) need the revenue. What’s the NFL going to do to them? Deny Delaware an NFL franchise? Or a Super Bowl?

The bill is going to pass. That’s when, as the saying goes, all bets are off. According to the Washington Times,

The New Jersey State Assembly passed a bill in February allowing legalized sports betting in Atlantic City casinos despite the federal ban. That measure hasn’t gone anywhere, but once Delaware approves sports betting, everyone will want into the game.

Maryland is then expected to follow suit. That could lead to a flood of sports books and casinos opening in Mid-Atlantic states. If (when) the law passes, Delaware sports books could be open by 2009.

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  1. Doc's Sports Predictions Guy Says:

    Fantastic. This is a step in the right direction. I don’t the time or the space to fully dissect what raving hypocrites the federal government has been on this issue. I can just hope that (for many other more important reasons) the Democrats sweep the elections this fall. Perhaps then we’ll see an attitude that says that Americans are free to spend their hard-earned money any way they want to. Also, once they see the amount of regulated income that the state government will bring in hopefully they’ll buy a clue and realize that legalized gambling can give the people something they clearly want while producing a revenue stream for the government (to help start paying back the incredible deficit that the current administration has rung up for us and our children). Is that too-much to hope for in the next 4-8 years? Sure. But hopefully we’ll take some strides in that direction. Go Delaware!

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