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Delaware Aims to Legalize Betting on NFL Games

The state of Delaware intends to allow single-event betting on NFL games beginning with the start of the 2009 season Sept. 10, but court challenges from sports leagues could delay the plan.

When approved by the state legislature and signed into law in May, the sports lottery's exact form was left to be determined. State lottery director Wayne Lemons told USA TODAY on Monday that it will allow bettors to wager on the outcome of one game or a parlay of several.

Delaware would join Nevada as the only states with legal betting on NFL games. And Delaware lawmakers have not ruled out allowing wagering on other pro and college sports. U.S. leagues and the NCAA have long opposed sports betting but have withheld legal action against Delaware's plan pending the state's decision on specifics.

Jeff Miller, the NFL's vice president of government relations and public policy, declined to comment Monday. Gov. Jack Markell's spokesman, Joseph Rogalsky, also declined to comment.

"The clear preference for those who wager on sports is to bet on a single game," says Anthony Cabot, a Las Vegas lawyer who specializes in gaming law. "It's far more popular than simply offering parlay cards."

Markell pushed a sports lottery this spring as a way to reduce the state's huge budget deficit. Sports betting is expected to generate as much as $55 million a year for the state, which also faces competitive pressure from nearby states that have joined it in adding slot machines to horse racing tracks.

For now, Delaware's three track-based casinos would be the only places where sports betting is allowed.

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