Sports leagues sue to block betting
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – The four major pro sports leagues and the NCAA sued Delaware Friday, seeking to block the state from implementing sports betting.
Delaware’s sports betting plan “would irreparably harm professional and amateur sports by fostering suspicion and skepticism that individual plays and final scores of games may have been influenced by factors other than honest athletic competition,” the leagues and NCAA say in a lawsuit filed in federal district court in Delaware.
Congress banned sports betting in 1992 but grandfathered four states – Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon – that had already offered it. But the lawsuit argues that Delaware’s plan to allow single-game betting would violate the legislation because Delaware has never offered single-game betting before.
Under the ’92 law, the leagues and NCAA said, a state like Delaware may only reintroduce sports betting if it had been conducted between 1976 and 1990.
They also argue that Delaware’s plan is illegal because it allows betting on all sports, going beyond the professional football betting program that constituted the state’s brief failed experiment in 1976.
The suit was filed by Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and the NCAA.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who proposed sports betting to help solve a budget shortfall, signed legislation authorizing it this year. State officials hope to have it in place for this year’s NFL regular season in September.
Markell’s office had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.
In May, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the new state law allowing sports betting didn’t conflict with the state constitution, but the justices also said, “we cannot opine on the constitutionality of single game bets.”