1. Delaware vs. The NFL
RCS: Governor, here are some of the facts surrounding your proposal that would make Delaware the only state east of the Mississippi to allow sports gambling: The state of Delaware is facing a $750 million deficit - over 20 percent of its total budget. You've recently proposed a 8% pay cut for all state employees, but you believe the state can raise additional revenue by legalizing sports betting.
But the NFL is opposed. In a recent ESPN the Magazine piece, an NFL spokesperson said "our policy on the issue has been consistent for decades. We have been an active proponent of federal and state legislation that prohibits the spread of legal sports gambling. We do not want our games used as bait."
Is it your belief that this is a farce? Does the NFL want to put a front up against your proposal for the sole purpose of protecting its image?
Gov. Markell: Well, I put it this way. I certainly respect that the National Football League is entitled to their position, but when they say they're really focused on protecting the integrity of the league and not having sports betting, I think it's really belied by evidence to the contrary if you look through the programming that carries the NFL and generates a lot of money, whether it's ESPN or others. They have the Pigskin Prognosticator, The Swami, they've got a whole bunch that assist sports bettors. We've listed some of those in a letter to the NFL.
Clearly the NFL is benefiting handsomely and mightily from the these networks that talk about the spreads and all that. I think that as a result it's odd that they're trying to limit our ability. Frankly there are so many people who are betting illegally. We're basically saying: "Why don't we bring a type of regulation to this?"