What Happens in Dover, Stays in Dover

Something just happened that has slipped under many radars. Delaware has de-criminalized sports gambling. A bit. For the state.

In Delaware they have decided to run sports betting, on parlays basically. No word yet on if they will be allowing straight up bets against the spread. This ESPN story, which was done before the legalization is OK, but very funny in parts.

At least the governor of Delaware, Jack Markell, is straight up about some things. His state needs money, and this is a great way to get some. Also, the state already has gambling in the form of running race tracks, and slot machines so it isn’t like there is this big moral “gambling bridge” that the state needs to cross. That said, is there any state that doesn’t have a lottery?

In the video, hard hitting Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs suggests that with this legalization of sports betting in Delaware, that marginal players could be influenced by betters and throw games, or shave points. I honestly think that the NFL put Suggs up to saying those things. There is already legal sports gambling in Montana and Oregon – and we all know about the cathedrals of gambling in Las Vegas. There is no way that Suggs could have independently thought that the state of Delaware legalizing parlay cards would bring any new pressure to pro or college athletes to toss games or shave points. Why? BECAUSE EVERYONE IS ALREADY BETTING ON FOOTBALL.

From local watering holes offering parlay cards to complex websites, Americans of all shapes and sizes are wagering untold billions of dollars on football games from Maine to Hawaii, and everywhere in between.

Another howler in the video was the threat by the NCAA to not allow championship games in that state if they allow the sports betting. That will make the Blue Hens sad, but not too many other people. I love the part where the NCAA representative squirms for an answer when challenged about letting the state of Montana have championship events.

The governor of Delaware basically said that the NCAA can “stick it” – and that his state needs money. The NFL grumbled and groaned too, to no avail.

The NCAA and the NFL will have their hands full when ALL the states introduce sports gaming, and New Jersey will open the door for everyone else after this lawsuit succeeds, which will overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not in favor of any governmental organization running betting parlors of any kind. But I am really surprised that it has taken this long for states to start to get into the sports betting business since the “gambling horse” left the barn a long time ago when states decided it was legal and moral enough for them to run a random number lottery.

Cross posted at LITGM and Kollej Football is Life.

5 thoughts on “What Happens in Dover, Stays in Dover”

  1. Delaware, Delaware, isn’t that one of the counties up in the northeast somewhere?


    The governor of Delaware basically said that the NCAA can “stick it” – and that his state needs money

    This shows just how divorced politicians are from reality or how divorced their interest are from the rest of the citizenry. Unless they plan on attracting large numbers of gamblers from out of state, sports betting won’t improve the economy of the state. Gambling is a non-productive activity. It doesn’t produce real material wealth at best it just shuffles it. The best gambler on a desert island just as more coconuts or seashells than the other guys while the best farmer grows more food.

    Politicians like gambling because it generates revenue for politicians to spend without producing any serious political backlash. It helps politicians buy votes for only the cost negative externalities of gambling. It’s good for politicians but it doesn’t make everyone else in the state better off.

  2. It’s good for politicians but it doesn’t make everyone else in the state better off.

    Well, many people seem to enjoy it, though I don’t. Like they enjoy going to the equally non-productive movies, which I no longer enjoy. And all the people who work for the casinos seem to enjoy getting paid. While it is not truly victimless, it’s hard for me to see a state interest in outlawing it.

    The interesting event will be seeing if bets made over the internet are considered interstate commerce. This could be very lucrative.

  3. It doesn’t increase the total amount of wealth but it does allow some capital accumulation by people who otherwise would probably never do it. I wonder of you could create a “lottery” that basically paid a bit under market interest, but also had a very-high-odds classical payout? Lottery is the one form of “investment” that many poor people will indulge in in preference to, or in addtion to, drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. It would be interesting to see if that willingness could be utilized somehow.

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