Bad news for the gambling community in Delaware, the proposed $46 million dollar casino aid package has officially been stalled. It is tabled in order to be revised and revisited at a later date, it appears that the casinos in the area will have to wait until 2016 before they can even be considered for the much needed bailout.
This is a highly detrimental blow to the already struggling Delaware gaming industry as a rapid loss of revenue has been noted, partially due to out-of-town competition. Impacted by the fact that the neighboring state Pennsylvania, went from 0 casinos in 2006 to 11 casinos by 2012, the new editions are said to be collectively making in excess of $3 billion dollars yearly.
In addition, Maryland has also opened 2 casinos of their own, which have more than doubled their respective profits since opening. After all, there are only so many gamblers out there, how many more could there be to feed the preexisting ones?
Nevertheless, lawmakers and many taxpayers are having trouble empathizing with the industry as they had just received a bailout as recently as 2013, to the tune of a $8 million. This is highly troubling as the notorious gambler’s haven, Atlantic City has all but been condemned at this point. On the heels of a steady decline, as well as the damaging super storm Hurricane Sandy, the town has even been closed down. What’s more, they were even forced to file for bankruptcy for one of its newest, state-of-the art venues.
The Crux of the Bill
Seeking a proposed $20 plus million per year, the brunt of the bill would go to taxpayers. In fact, according to delawareonline.com, taxpayers would be on the hook for some $9 million per year. The article states, “Taxpayers would split 75 percent of the cost to pay vendors that supply slot machines to Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway and Casino. This change would take effect on July 1” (Starkey). In addition to that, they are also requesting an end to the $3 million annual table game tax, and they are also asking that the tax on table game revenue be reduced, to the tune of $7.2 million per year.
Importance of the Bailout
Although it is clearly not preferable, saving the casino industry in Delaware would also ensure that thousands of employees will keep their jobs. Furthermore, the state also utilizes funds from these casinos to pay for things such as education, Medicaid, among others. This will clearly put the state in economic turmoil, if they can’t manage to keep these businesses afloat. Despite these facts, the state seems to be playing hardball as it has been said that the general censuses is that the casinos were requesting too much funding, and are also not willing to negotiate.
In the Future
The future of gaming in Delaware, and many other states, remains unclear. With the creation of newer, more modern casinos, as well as the growing popularity of online gaming, many of the older casinos just aren’t doing the business that they used to do. Furthermore, not passing the bill only ensures that the older Delaware casinos that employ thousands of Americans will continue to be unable to compete against their newer neighbors, unless something changes soon.