Delaware May Bet on Sports Gambling

Sports betting will soon be legal in Delaware if Gov. Jack Markell gets his way.

Markell plans to propose a bill sometime next week that would legalize sports gambling in Delaware, a spokesman told NBC Philadelphia.

"He's open to the idea," said Markell's spokesman Joe Rogalsky.

The plan is to institute a sports-betting lottery in time for the upcoming NFL season, according to ESPN the Magazine's Chad Millman.

The exact plan still is being worked out to ensure that it's the "best possible plan for the people of Delaware," said Rogalsky.

Gamblers can already bet on slot machines, horses and the lottery in Delaware but the Governor sees more opportunity to cash in on betting.

Sports betting could generate some needed cash in the First State.

The recent economic turmoil has thrown Delaware into a $700 million budget shortfall. The numbers remain fluid but sports betting could pump $50 to $100 million into Delaware, according to sources.

Betting would take place in sports bars and other locations, Markell told ESPN. The proposal would only allow for parlay bets.

What's a parlay?

In a parlay a bettor must get two or more bets right to win.

But, why is Delaware allowed to legalize sports betting?

Sports betting hasn't been legal east of the Mississippi River in nearly 30 years.

Delaware is one of four states (the others are Montana, Oregon and Nevada) where sports betting is allowed because of an exemption in the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Delaware actually experimented with sports betting in 1976 but abandoned the idea, said Rogalsky. 

The state legislature could pass the bill by April, according to sources. Then it would only need Markell's signature to become law.

Last year Markell's predecessor Ruth Ann Minner threatened to veto a proposed sports betting bill that stalled out in the state legislature.

Gambling is always controversial. There is already an online petition that asks state legislatures to block sports betting.

The NFL is the focus of the sports-betting proposal but others sports could be included, said Rogalsky.

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