Monday, February 1, 2010

Delaware Is Latest East Coast State To Approve Table Games

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Delaware became the latest state on the East Coast to legalize table games after Governor Jack Markell signed a bill into law last Thursday.

The bill to allow table games at the three racetrack-slot parlors in Delaware came after the neighboring state of Pennsylvania legalized table games earlier this month.

A spokesman for Delaware Governor Markell said table games - such as blackjack, poker, roulette and craps - should begin this summer while Pennsylvania´s gaming commission said that table games could be up and running in 6 to 9 months.

Delaware’s racetrack-slot parlors (Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway and Delaware Park) will pay the state 34 percent of its table game revenue in taxes and fees while Pennsylvania is applying a rate of 16 percent, not including licensing fees.

Delaware´s three racetrack-slot parlors will split a $13.5 million collective table game license fee which while Pennsylvania will charge most of its slot parlors $16.5 million for a table games license.

The Delaware bill also forms a Lottery Commission that will act as a state gaming oversight body.

The approval of table games in both Pennsylvania and Delaware in January is a one-two punch to the casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., already hurt by Pennsylvania´s onslaught of slot parlors. Customers spent 13.2 percent less in Atlantic City´s casinos last year than they did the year before and the casinos stand to lose more business since New Jersey´s western border is shared entirely with Delaware and Pennsylvania and customers living in those two states will play at local casinos, if only some of the time, instead of going to Atlantic City.

"The world is changing around us," said Maryland´s gaming commission chairman Donald C. Fry who is recommending that Maryland too allow table games at the five slot parlor locations approved last year. None of the slot parlors, approved in a 2008 referendum, have yet to open.

Delaware´s table games approval is not a surprise. A gaming bill passed last year called for offering table games as soon as possible. The CEO of the Dover Downs racetrack-slot parlor in Delaware, Ed Sutor, said last summer to GGB News, “What pushed us over the edge (for expansion) was Maryland. Seventy percent of our business comes from out of state, and 50 percent of our business comes from Maryland.”