Delaware sports lottery losing steam; Pennsylvania passes sports bet resolution

delaware-sports-lottery-nflA Pennsylvania legislative committee has passed a purely symbolic resolution urging Congress to scrap the federal ban on sports betting.

On Tuesday, the House Gaming Oversight Committee overwhelmingly approved HR619, which calls for an end to the 1992 PASPA sports betting prohibition and allowing states like Pennsylvania to regulate betting through its licensed casino operations. The resolution now heads for the House floor for another purely symbolic vote.

Pennsylvania is one of a growing number of states that would like to bring about PASPA’s demise, but only New Jersey has really taken this fight seriously. New Jersey’s legal champions will argue the state’s case (again) before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals next Wednesday (17).

PASPA restricts single-game sports betting to Nevada, while three other states – Delaware, Montana and Oregon – are limited to offering parlay wagers or pool betting. Delaware has also made legal runs at overturning PASPA so it can offer single-game wagers, but federal courts rejected the state’s last effort in 2009, after which the state effectively gave up.

The Delaware Lottery recently turned in its sports lottery report card for the 2015-16 NFL season. The state’s 102 retail wagering points of sale, along with the sportsbooks at the state’s three racinos, reported sales of $39.4m, 4% higher than the previous year and a new state record. The state will keep about $5.7m of this haul.

The Delaware Sports Lottery’s take was just $10.9m in the 2009-10 season but the pace of growth has slowed dramatically from the double-digit gains of recent years. Lottery director Vernon Kirk told the Delaware State News the sports lottery may be “close to finding our ceiling.”

Kirk suggested the sports lottery could get a boost from the SB183 legislation recently introduced by state Sen. Brian Bushweller, which would allow the state’s licensed online gambling operators to offer parlay wagers via desktop and mobile devices. Kirk said “the technology is there if [SB183] passes.”