When most people think of Delaware, one of four (and only four) things comes to mind: native son Joe Biden, Delaware General Corporation Law, that one scene from Wayne’s World, or that Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution. No other answers will be accepted - sorry, Blue Hens fans.
(Imagine being able to be magically whisked away…to Delaware.)
One answer that would not come to mind in a sane person is “sports and gaming mecca.” Despite the state’s best tourism efforts (their website rather gamely offers “everything from NCAA college football to minor league baseball“), Delaware has not been known as a sports fan’s paradise. That, however, may change if the state goes ahead with plans to allow single-game and parlay betting on NFL games. Delaware, here we come!
Back in March we here at SPORTSbyBROOKS told you about Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s attempt to have sports betting legalized in his home state. With a $750 million deficit in the state’s budget, Markell believes that being the only state east of the Mississippi River to allow sports betting would go a long way in decreasing that deficit. As Markell likes to point out, Delaware already allows slots and horse racing, and you can’t be “half-pregnant.”
As you’d expect, Markell is finding quite a bit of opposition to his proposals, but not by the fine people of Delaware. No, the two biggest foes Markell has come across are the two biggest benefactors of Americans who love to bet on sports: the NFL and the NCAA. In a recent interview with REAL CLEAR SPORTS, Governor Markell talked about the hypocrisy being shown by both of these organizations.
As we reported earlier on SbB, Delaware is set to legalize sports betting by the start of football season. Well, consider the floodgates officially open. A New Jersey lawmaker is suing the federal government to overturn it’s ban on sports wagering.
After a study that predicted a $10-billion-a-year business that could add $100 million annually to New Jersey’s coffers, it was a no-brainer for the financially strapped state. But the ban wouldn’t just affect the Garden State; it would allow every state to decide whether to legalize it. So this might be one Supreme Court case you’ll be able to eagerly follow on ESPN’s Bottom Line.
What are the odds of Jersey having a case? It’s not a bad bet, actually.
Thanks to our paranoid Founding Fathers and their precious states’ rights, four states were able to preserve legalized sports betting before the federal government made it illegal in 1992: Nevada, Montana and Oregon — which already have bookmaking — and little, unassuming Delaware.
With an new governor, Delaware has a new outlook on life, and legalized sports wagering is a big part of their future. So, will the First State ever be more than a cheap place to buy cigarettes or 20 minutes of highway between New York and D.C.?