Delaware casino regulations up for review
State officials are looking at loosening regulations surrounding casinos as a bill that could give them tens of millions of dollars every year has sat inactive for months.
It’s something the industry has been seeking for years, but its scope is nowhere close to the casino relief bill that would cut tax rates on table games and give the companies marketing incentives.
The review could consider allowing fewer floor supervisors overseeing table games and reducing administrative tasks surrounding records keeping and paperwork.
Finance Secretary Tom Cook was short on specifics, but says it’s something that needs to be looked at.
“This is people watching people watching people, so let’s make sure that we’re doing this in the most efficient manner,” Cook said.
Dover Downs CEO Ed Sutor says he also would like to see a required state license that must be renewed every three years rolled back to every five years.
Sutor adds he appreciates the review, but that it’s no panacea.
“The savings, if any, that the industry gets from a relaxation of regulations is not going to solve the industry’s problems," he said. "It’s something that we want to do, but it’s not going to solve our financial problems.”
The news comes at a time when a bill that would institute permanent changes to the way revenues are shared between the state and casinos is stalled in committee.
First, the bill would repeal an annual table game licensing fee, cut the table game tax rate and increase the amount of money the state has to pay toward video lottery vendor costs.
The bulk of the money associated with the recommendation would come in the second year, with the state offering marking tax credits to casinos.
All told, that bill would eventually cost state taxpayers $45.8 million annually
Revenue forecasts have been gloomy, with projections down 67 million dollars since Gov. Jack Markell (D) proposed his budget in January, which has lawmakers scrambling.
Dover Downs, the only publicly traded casino out of Delaware’s three, has posted net revenue losses for the past two years, with 2014’s figure totaling $706,000.
Any movement on the legislation will likely come toward the end of the fiscal year after revenue projections are solidified in June.