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Start your engines: sports betting opens in Delaware

It may not be exactly what legislators wanted but, for better or worse, the Delaware sports betting lottery starts this week that will allow parlay bets on NFL games.

Beginning Thursday, gamblers can place between $2 and $3,000 on a bet predicting the outcome of at least three NFL games. Bettors can wager on up to 12 games at once. For more on how the wagering works compared with Las Vegas, click here.

Last month a federal appeals court denied Delaware’s attempt to allow single-game betting as is permitted in Las Vegas.  The ruling also limited betting in Delaware to the NFL instead of other professional sports. The bill Gov. Jack Markell signed in May allowed betting in multiple sports, but the four major sports leagues and the NCAA sued this summer to halt that.

In 1976, the last time Delaware had a sports lottery, the NFL also led a charge against it. While that law suit failed, the game wasn’t brought back for a second year after revenues fell far short of expectations, according to news reports.

As originally enacted, Delaware’s sports betting was estimated to bring in $55 million to state coffers for the cash-strapped state. But with the restrictions now in place — and given the past failure with parlay betting — is there still a chance that sports betting east of the Mississippi will last?

I’ve heard concerns in Baltimore that Delaware’s sports betting could woo Marylanders across the state line on Sundays to spend their precious dollars watching football at the racetrack casinos instead of their local bars. But how many people are serious enough about sports betting to 1) understand the ins and outs of parlay betting, and 2) willing to make the drive and pay the tolls to get there?

One comment

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