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House Speaker Schwartzkopf opposes giving casinos more slot revenue

Delaware Public Media

The First State’s three casinos could see less state relief than they were hoping for.

State Sen. Brian Bushweller’s (D-Dover) casino relief bill cuts the state’s share of slot revenue. Delaware currently collects about 43 percent of each casinos’ slot revenue and it that would drop slightly under the bill.

But House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach)  is introducing an amendment that keeps the state’s share of slot revenue intact.

The Delaware Department of Finance said the total cost of the legislation will cost the state $15 million in the next fiscal year and $20 million a year after that. Schwarzkopf argues his amendment cuts that amount by about half.

“Why are we going to sit there and guarantee $11 million more in what would be just total profit, you know," he said. "So I’m not in favor of doing that. We have a lot of other needs for the money that comes from gaming.”

Bushweller's legislation also suspends the table gaming license fee and cuts the state’s share of table game revenue by about 14 percent.

When the bill passed the state Senate in April - Dover Downs Casino CEO Denis McGlynn called it a start, but added it wouldn’t provide his casino all the money it needed for new facilities and maintenance.

But Schwartzkopf said now that Delaware has expanded sports betting, he expects the state’s three casinos will be profitable without reducing the tax rate on slots.

“We can make sure that they maintain their business, we can make sure that they remain profitable and we can make sure that they make enough money, he said. "Especially Dover Downs because they’re publicly traded, so it’s a solvent company and that they can start to invest back in their company. We don’t have to give them an additional 11 million dollar profit.”

Bushweller didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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