NEW YORK – Delaware hopes to add betting on football to its lottery in time for the fall season, the lottery director said Thursday, after a state court ruled the constitution allows more than just “games of pure chance.”
“What we anticipate having is a sport (book) similar to what you see in Las Vegas, that would be football and basketball,” Wayne Lemons, the lottery director, told Reuters by telephone. “We intend to have it up and running by the time the football season starts in the fall.”
The lottery has yet to decide which other sports may be added, he said. Tickets for the new sports lottery will be sold only in Delaware. Only a few states, including Nevada, Montana and Delaware, can offer sports lotteries because they were grandfathered under a 1992 federal law, Lemons said. Delaware was included in this exception because it had offered a sport lottery in the 1970s. “It wasn’t that profitable, the way it was conducted,” Lemons said. Pro sports leagues, including the National Football League, have objected to these kinds of sports lotteries, saying they damage their sport. But Lemons noted that some teams have licensed their logos to lotteries.
Spokesmen for the NFL and Governor Jack Markell were not immediately available to comment. Delaware expects to make a few million dollars a year from the new sports gambling at the start, Lemons said.
Although the recession has clipped revenues from Delaware’s video lottery terminals by about 7 per cent from the previous recession, ticket games, such as Powerball, appear more resistant. The state’s Democratic governor said in a statement that he had sought the ruling from the Delaware Supreme Court to resolve any legal questions, adding that Delaware now has “a solid legal framework for our sports lottery.”
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