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Delaware Moves to Implement Casino Table Games

Delaware Governor Jack Markell approved a bill legalizing table games on January 29th, 2010, creating an implementation process that should have players playing with real dice and cards in four months. Before Gov. Markell signed his name on the line, the Senate approved the proposal in a fifteen-four vote.

The proposal is expected to produce more than $40 million for Delaware in new revenue next year. The Delaware law will mean increased gaming competition for Atlantic City (AC) casinos with casino table games like baccarat coming in two neighboring states-Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Previously, Pennsylvania slot machines had a negative impact on AC casino. Gaming revenues in AC casinos dropped by more than thirteen percent in 20009, the biggest year-over-year drop in the resort's history.

Revenue, or the amount won, dropped by 7.6% in 2008 and 5.7% in 2007. The Delaware gaming legislation establishers a tax rate, creates an oversight Lottery Commission and creates forty state jobs to oversee the new gambling.

The mostly procedural law finalized a goal set by the General Assembly last year when it approved sports wagering in a bill that called for the installation of the casino table games as soon as possible.

During the debate on the Senate floor on January 28th, 2010, only Senator George Bunting (D-Bethany Beach), raised objection to the proposal, focusing mainly on the monopoly given to the three racinos: Dover Park, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway and Casino. The legislation was only changed slightly.

The most significant change was a provision to prohibit legislators from filing any of the forty positions created by the legislation. The bill finalizes how revenue from gambling will be divided, with 29.4% going to Delaware, 66.1% to the casino facilities and 4.5% to the horse racing industry.

The division was decided by a committee that was created in the sports betting bill and included representatives from the casino facilities, CEO of Dover Downs Ed Sutor, Controller General Russ Larson and secretary of the Department of Finance, which was Gary Pfeiffer until Tom Cook replace him in the position.

The accompanying bill, Senate Bill 188, which makes cheating on casino table games a crime and improves penalties for money laundering was also approved by the Senate and Gov. Markell.

Sutor said that the casino facility will move quickly to hire additional staff and order materials for the casino table games roll-out. It is estimated that the bill will produce more than seven hundred new employment opportunities at Delaware's three casinos.


03/03/2010 12:14 PM
Ann Pettersson