The Delaware Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the sports betting law signed this month by governor Jack Markell complies with the state's constitution, clearing the way for wagers on NFL and college games this fall.
Attorneys argued before the court last week on behalf of the NFL, which tried to have the law ruled unconstitutional. But the state's highest court saw otherwise, with all five justices concluding the law was legal.
Table games are also part of the law, and Markell is counting on successful implementation of the law to raise upward of $50 million and help fill a projected $800 million hole in the state’s fiscal year 2010 budget.
"This decision resolves the legal issues that have been presented and provides a solid legal framework for our sports lottery," Markell said. "With this guidance in hand, we are moving forward with implementing a successful sports lottery in Delaware."
The NFL is considering legal options. "We do not believe that promoting additional betting on college and professional athletes and games is healthy for sports," the league said in a statement.
Last week, the NFL announced that it was teaming with the Massachusetts State Lottery to offer a licensed instant ticket that included the team logo of the New England Patriots. In return, the NFL will get a piece of the action.
"This is going to be a hugely successful collaboration," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said.
Yes, this is the same NFL that refused to allow a Las Vegas commercial during the Super Bowl a few years ago. Critics said the league has lost any moral ground on the issue of gambling.