Court’s ruling for Delaware sports betting is a “worst-case scenario”

    A “worst-case scenario” is what the president of one of the state’s three racinos is calling the ruling by a federal appeals court that Delaware’s new sports betting lottery must be limited to parlay bets on professional football games.

    A “worst-case scenario” is what the president of one of the state’s three racinos is calling the latest ruling by a federal appeals court.

    The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Delaware’s new sports betting lottery must be limited to parlay bets on at least three professional football games.

    The court declared last week that Delaware’s plan, which included single-game bets and a variety of sports, violated federal law.

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    “It couldn’t have been a worse decision from our perspective,” said Ed Sutor, President and CEO of Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. “Not only did they say we couldn’t bet on different sports – only the NFL – it also says we can only do parlay bets and three at a minimum. The further you get away from one bet the worse it gets. We thought we would get two bets because that’s still a parlay.”

    Sutor says the racinos can start taking parlay bets Thursday, Sept. 10.


    Governor Jack Markell says he is disappointed by the decision and that the state is reviewing its legal options. But he says sports betting will still give the state a competitive advantage and a boost to the economy.

    “We continue to believe this is an opportunity to create jobs and generate revenue to help us keep teachers in the classroom, police on the street and maintain other core commitments of state government.”

    The decision comes after the state’s three racinos have pumped millions of dollars into building sports books with the anticipation of single-game wagering, and betting on more than just NFL games.

    But Sutor says his new facilities, which include a 200-seat race and sports book and an adjoining restaurant, will still be used year-round.

    “What we’re going to do is have a wonderful horse racing facility as well as an upscale sports bar,” he said. “There’s a lot of other places around the country that spent millions on upgraded sports bars with no gaming activity.”

    Sutor says there’s no way of knowing how much this decision will cost his casino or the state. But he says it will be more profitable than the state’s short-lived attempt at a sports parlay in the 1970’s. And, he says, there’s still table games, although it’s unclear when they will begin.

    “We think that the table game revenue will more than offset any of the loss of business with sports betting,” Sutor said.

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