(CN) – The 3rd Circuit on Monday further explained its one-page ruling last week that elements of Delaware’s proposed sports lottery violate federal law, saying the state could only offer parlay betting on professional football games.
A three-judge panel ruled that the Sports Lottery Act, which authorized sports betting and table gambling at existing casinos, violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Practices Act (PASPA).
Gov. Jack Markell passed the Act into law in May. Delaware planned to launch single-game betting by Sept. 1, in time for the start of the NFL season.
The Delaware Supreme Court previously upheld multi-game betting, but did not address the constitutionality of single-game betting in its advisory opinion, so the state proposed plans to implement the lottery Act.
The NCAA and four major sports leagues sued to stop the sports lottery, saying it would injure their reputations and expose young people to gambling.
The district court refused to block the sports lottery, saying the leagues were not likely to win their case.
Within a month, the Philadelphia-based appeals court heard arguments and sided with the leagues.
PASPA limited sports betting to four states, including Delaware, which allowed such betting from 1976 to 1990.
Delaware interpreted the language broadly, saying it could reintroduce the sports lottery, because it had conducted a similar scheme in 1976.
But the leagues pointed out that the exemption applied only “to the extent that the scheme was conducted by that state.” They urged the court to consider only previous betting schemes that were actually conducted, not just authorized or contemplated.
The 3rd Circuit agreed, saying PASPA did not extend to single-game sports betting.
“[E]xpanding the very manner in which Delaware conducts gambling activities to new sports or to new forms of gambling – namely single-game betting – beyond ‘the extent’ of what Delaware ‘conducted’ in 1976 would engender the very ills that PASPA sought to combat,” Judge Hardiman wrote.
The ruling means Delaware will have to settle for multi-game “parlay” betting, the only type of betting allowed in its first sports betting venture.