- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Del. lawmakers eye gambling changes
Question of the Day
DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are about to propose revisions to gambling laws that would offer some relief to the state’s casinos, but could cost the state more than $20 million a year.
Finance secretary Tom Cook told an industry panel Tuesday that a bill revising how Delaware’s three casinos share gambling revenue with the state will be introduced this week.
The legislation is based on recommendations from a study commission led by Cook that discussed how to help Delaware’s casinos as they struggle with competition from new casinos in neighboring states, primarily Maryland.
But with lawmakers already facing a tight budget for next fiscal year, revenue projections for the current year declining, and the Markell administration calling for higher taxes, it’s unclear how a financial bailout for the casinos will be received in the legislature.
“I don’t think anything’s easy this year,” said Cook.
“This is this is obviously an important issue,” he added. “It’s an important revenue source for the state.”
Dover Downs CEO Ed Sutor said that without some financial relief, Delaware’s casinos may have to cut back on marketing efforts, which could make it even more difficult to attract more gamblers and retain industry jobs, resulting in less money going into the state’s general fund.
The study commission recommended that the state split 75 percent of slot machine vendor cost with the casinos, rather than having the casinos continue to pay the full amount from their share of gambling revenue. The change, which would take effect July 1, would cost the state $9.9 million next fiscal year.
The commission also proposed eliminating the annual $3 million table games fee paid by the casinos starting July 1, 2015, and reducing the state’s share of table game revenue from 29.4 percent to 15 percent, at an estimated annual cost of $7.2 million.
Sutor said the proposed changes are sorely needed by Delaware’s three casinos, which contributed more than $180 million in gambling revenue to the state’s general fund last year but are struggling financially. According to Sutor, revenue from slot machine gambling, which represents about 90 percent of business for Delaware’ casinos, was down more than 10 percent in the first quarter. Table game revenue was down almost 25 percent year to year, he told fellow members of Delaware’s Video Lottery Advisory Council.
Dover Downs last week reported a quarterly loss of more than $1 million, with gambling revenue down more than 12 percent compared to last year’s first quarter. Sutor also noted that his company has $47 million in debt that could become due and callable on June 17 unless an arrangement is worked out with lenders. He said lenders are waiting to see what happens with the proposed legislation before deciding whether to renegotiate loan terms.
“We believe that if we do get that bill as proposed by the commission, we should be in a much better position with our bank to get our deal renewed,” he said.
TWT Video Picks
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- HUSAIN: Fleeing Iraqi Christians find safe haven at the Shrine of Imam Ali
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world