The Delaware vs. National Football League and other profession sports leagues issue took on added urgency this week when lawyers for the leagues asked a federal appeals court for a quick decision on whether Delaware’s plan to allow betting on games should be halted before a trial scheduled for December 7th can be held.
The leagues and the NCAA are appealing a decision by a federal judge to refuse their request for a preliminary injunction, which would have prevented Delaware betting from beginning in time for the September start of the football season, reports the Washington Post newspaper.
Last week, Chief District Judge Gregory Sleet said the leagues had not met the criteria for an injunction, including that they would suffer irreparable harm.
Monday this week, in a filing to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, the leagues claim they will win the case, and that Sleet failed to adequately address the issue of irreparable harm. Without an expedited appeal, attorneys for the leagues wrote, the leagues “…will have to endure months of sports betting, which is clearly in violation of federal law.”
Court documents indicate attorneys for the state are opposed to an expedited handling of the case.
“This was not unexpected,” said Joe Rogalsky, a spokesman for Governor Jack Markell. “We believe Judge Sleet made the correct decision to reject the request for an injunction.”
The Delaware Supreme Court ruled in May this year that the sports betting plan does not conflict with Delaware’s constitution as long as chance is the predominant factor in winning or losing. The justices refused, however, to decide on the constitutionality of single-game bets.
The leagues argue skill would outweigh chance in single-game betting, and that such wagering would violate the state constitution.