Delaware Should Join New Jersey in Sports Betting Suit

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The most recent good report on the revenue front for the Delaware budget is that the tax amnesty program has generated some $8 million more than had been projected. The bad news is that the state's economic recovery, according to forecasters, is still years away, with unemployment expected to not get better any time soon.

The good news is the federal stimulus program has put as many as 3,600 people to work in Delaware during the first seven months, even though the jobs might be temporary.

The bad news is the perceived rally in the stock market didn't happen, as everything that went up the middle of last week was down by Friday, plus some.

The good news is ... well, you get the idea.

And then we have the latest downturn of the crippled Delaware sports betting program that today is only a shell of what was hoped for and now even raises questions of how helpful it can be to the state coffers in its present configuration.

As anyone who has followed the sports betting scheme as proposed originally well knows, the three casinos have been forced by federal court rulings to fall back to the 1976 system that allows only three-game parlay betting. Come Super Bowl week, even that will disappear since there will only be one game played.

Last week, a caveat in the betting rules that limits the state's liability in the event of a good run by bettors on a week's worth of NFL games kicked in the computer system and refused to pay out to the unusual amount of winners. Even the lowest level in the bookie community wouldn't risk not paying out when they had a bad week.

Fortunately, the state over-rode the computer decision and paid the winners. As senior reporter Cris Barrish's report in today's News Journal points out, there may even have been the need for extra security if the state had refused to pay off the bets, some up to $10,000.

This seemingly minor glitch in the system is not so menial given the legal setbacks and deterioration of what had been planned for sports betting.

The question now surfaces: Is it really worth this aggravation and potential bettor dissatisfaction?

The position taken by some New Jersey elected officials looks better all the time. They want to challenge the federal ban on sports betting. It's time Delaware joins that gamble.                 

This has been a Delaware Online Opinion Piece 


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