State bets on financial boost


Delaware officials were recently denied the opportunity by a federal court to present single-game wagers on various sporting events. But that’s not stopping the state from pushing forward on a plan to generate more revenue for our cash-strapped state.

The three racetrack casinos in the state will be taking parlay bets beginning with this week’s NFL schedule. The parlays involve a bettor picking three to 12 NFL games correctly during a given week, lessening the odds of a victory for the bettor, but increasing the pay-off should the bettor pick each game correctly.

This is a diluted form of what Gov. Jack Markell wanted. In Markell’s dream scenario, gamblers would have been able to make single-game bets on all sports, and the state would have drawn gamblers from neighboring states to place their action in Delaware.

Why did the state lose this scenario? NFL officials, as well as representatives from the other major sports, fought it hard. They felt that the opportunity for somebody to “fix” the outcome of one game would be far easier than someone trying to manipulate the outcome of seven. The NBA recently had a scenario when one of their referees was supplying information to gamblers, and the integrity of all NBA games thus came into question.

So the major sports leagues got nervous. They pounced at the opportunity to nip gambling in Delaware in the bud immediately, and they got their win. Yes, people can still make single-game wagers in Las Vegas, but that’s it. Nobody can legally bet on their favorite team on the East Coast.

Bloodied, but not done, the state moved forward with parly betting and has offered various options. People can bundle in a Monday Night Football wager with a parly from the current or future week, and the aforementioned selection of parlys running from a three-game set to 12.

“We obviously stayed within the confines of the ruling ... but we looked at it so we could offer a variety of games that were certainly attractive to our patrons,” said acting state finance secretery Tom Cook, in an Associated Press story.

Yes, the state did not get what it wanted out of this federal court ruling. And, yes, the revenue expected for the state is now diminished greatly. But Markell and his administration is still going forward — hoping to generate some money for a state badly in need of revenue.

We’re not sure how this is going to play out for the state. Delaware tried parlay betting before, but stopped it because it wasn’t making money. We’re guessing this won’t be a huge revenue stream, either, especially considering the current economic climate.

But they’re trying.