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Delaware Legislators to Consider Legalized Sports Betting Tuesday

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Apr/28/2009

Delaware's legislature will consider allowing wagering on all sports when its session resumes today. While there is agreement among the governor, key legislators and the state's gambling interests on the broad issue of sports betting, making it a reality bogged down early in the session over the details.

Delaware's effort to broaden gambling beyond its pari-mutuel horse racing and slot machines is evidence of an increasing competition among local governments that rely on casino gambling to help balance their budgets and bolster their economies.

"Delaware is a gaming state, and the governor wants to do what's necessary to protect Delaware's gaming industry," said Joe Rogalsky, Markell's spokesman. "Plus he wants to use it as an economic development tool."

In 2008, Delaware's three racinos - casinos at racetracks - paid more than $210 million in taxes (between 6 percent and 7 percent of the total state budget) and accounted for nearly 2,600 jobs. But taxes and jobs were down from the previous year - a decrease of 2.8 percent in tax money and a loss of about 300 jobs.

Adding sports wagering to Delaware's gambling menu has become an appealing notion for two reasons: a looming $750 million deficit in the state's budget and increased competition for gambling dollars from Pennsylvania's new slots casinos and from Maryland's future slots parlors.

"There is now a Newtonian mind-set that an action in one state causes a not necessarily equal but certainly opposite reaction in another state," said Joseph Weinert, senior vice president for Spectrum Gaming Group, a New Jersey-based research and consulting firm. He likened the escalation between jurisdictions as gambling's version of an "arms race."

 

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