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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Delaware Sports Betting Rights

May 7, 2010 (PAP News Wire) – Delaware, one of only four U.S. states legally allowed to offer sports betting, has been refused permission to expand its small-scale, lottery-style system by the U.S. Supreme Court.

If successful, the change would have (theoretically) put Delaware on par with Las Vegas and Atlantic City as a national sports betting hub. And, although the plan only involved sports betting in land-based venues, it would likely have served as a booster for the movement to expand wagering to online gambling venues as well (which, it seems, New Jersey is on the verge of accomplishing).

In the appeal, the Delaware government teamed up with the gambling industry in the state and were largely funded by local casinos. “Jack Markell, noting the Supreme Court ruled without comment, said the state was denied a chance to argue the merits of having a broader system of sports betting,” writes Donald Wittkowski in the Press of Atlantic City.

“New Jersey has launched a lawsuit challenging the federal sports betting ban, claiming it infringes on states’ constitutional rights,” the article adds.

And so American states continue to fight it out with the federal government over their rights to offer betting and gambling services to their citizens. There’s little difference in this drive to legalize sports betting and the larger movement in many states to legalize and regulate online gambling within their borders.

Ed Sutor, president and CEO of the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, commented on the growing influence of online gambling to the land-based casino industry in his state. “While disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling, Sutor is hopeful sports betting in Delaware will be boosted by the introduction of Atlantic City-style table games at the slot parlors,” Wittkowski writes. “We now think that with table games coming online, there will be more of a crossover between sports betting and table games,” Sutor commented in the article. “About 80 percent of the table games players are male, similar to sports betting.”