(CN) – The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a 3rd Circuit ruling that limited Delaware’s sports lottery to multigame, or “parlay,” betting on NFL games. The state had sought to add single-game betting on a variety of professional and amateur sports in an effort to shrink its budget deficit.
A three-judge panel ruled last August that the Sports Lottery Act, which authorized sports betting and table gambling at existing casinos, violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Practices Act (PASPA).
The NCAA and four major sports leagues had sued to stop the sports lottery, saying it would injure their reputations and expose youth to gambling.
Delaware argued that PASPA allowed sports betting in four states, including Delaware, where such betting was legal from 1976 to 1990. The state said it could reintroduce the lottery under a broad reading of the law.
But the leagues pointed out the exemption applied only “to the extent that the scheme was conducted by that state.” This meant that states could only continue betting schemes that had actually been conducted, not just authorized or contemplated, the leagues argued.
The 3rd Circuit agreed that 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 Thomas Hardiman wrote.
Because the Supreme Court’s order leaves the federal appeals court’s ruling in tact, Delaware will have to settle for multigame parlay betting, the only type of betting allowed in its first sports betting venture.