Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gambling in Delaware Wins One Legal Round

As I have said many times, legalized sports betting in Delaware will ruin us all. That horrible, horrible possibility moved closer to reality:

A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request from the major pro sports leagues and the NCAA for a preliminary injunction that would have prevented the state of Delaware from offering sports betting.

Barring intervention from an appeals court, U.S. District Judge Gregory M. Sleet's ruling clears the way for Delaware's plan to begin single-game and parlay wagering in time for the NFL's regular-season opener, Sept. 10.

After denying the injunction, Sleet set a series of October deadlines related to the leagues' request for a summary judgment ruling on its lawsuit against the state; such a ruling would come without a trial. Still, Sleet also scheduled a trial date, Dec. 7.

"The state is moving full speed ahead with our plans to implement a sports lottery by the start of the NFL season," Michael Barlow, lead counsel for Delaware Gov. Jack Markell's office, said in a statement.

"The Delaware Supreme Court gave us permission to initiate a sports lottery and today's decision reaffirms that we can move forward."

At a hearing in Wilmington, lawyers hired by the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL and NCAA argued that Delaware's plan violated the federal ban against sports betting. Kenneth Nachbar, the leagues' lead attorney, said his clients are evaluating their options, including appealing Sleet's decision to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

Someone better pray that the judges in Philly can stop this thing.

If sports betting in Delaware goes through, it will allow people on the Eastern seaboard to bet on Big East and ACC games. Think of the implications inherent in the nightmare of all of this. The economy has already turned suckers into fat, juicy marks. Internet scams, fake mortgages, birth certificates printed on toilet paper, and disenfranchised princes from West Africa abound. It means that we are headed for meltdown, horror, bank failure, government bailouts for sports betting clowns, subsidies for high rollers who go bust, all of that jive. Every slackjawed goober with an extra hundred dollars is already slavering over the possibility of making it turn into eight hundred dollars by betting on Georgetown vs St. Johns, or Duke over Maryland at Maryland.

Think it won't ruin college basketball? Think again, Poindexter. College basketball will become almost, but not quite, as bad as the NBA, which is fixed, I tell you, fixed.

They want to bet on the NFL, and on the rivalries that have turned the NFC East into a nightmare of screaming fans, broken dreams, and shattered players. The amount of money bet on an Eagles-Cowboys game would likely drain hard currency from the banks, causing many of them to fail outright if a fourth quarter miracle pass from Romo to someone playing third string were to connect for an upset. You'd have Joe Sixpacks jumping off roofs throughout the state of Pennsylvania. The strain on our first responders would leave hundreds of people stranded without help for days if the Giants were to beat the Redskins at Fed Ex field by thirty in a blowout that would obliterate the point spread. It would lead to a forced return of the barter system because money would cease to mean anything. People would be forced to trade their loyalty to a football team for seeds with which to grow food.

It would all end in drunken yammering into a wet sleeve, lone gunshots, rope burns and broken tree limbs from half-assed suicide attempts, television movies about trust and honor being thrown away by point shaving middle school players with draft prospects, distant howling into the cold night, families evicted from squatter homes, loan sharks being driven before crazed mobs by loan shark eating dogs, people migrating to Oklahoma in order to take advantage of the Big XII's dominance over the Mountain West, chaos in the schools, violence in the workplace over fantasy football teams run amok, wives beating their husbands over gambling losses...the mind reels. Stop sports betting, for the good of all mankind.

Stop it now. But only in Delaware. In Vegas? Cool beans.

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