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Atlantic City, Delaware Feel Pressure

Published: October 13, 2010 4:24 pm ET

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A new casino in south Philadelphia and Maryland’s first casino at Perryville, on the Philadelphia-Baltimore expressway, are putting severe pressure on casino and racino operations in Atlantic City and Delaware.

Atlantic City gaming revenue dropped another 12% in September, with slot revenue down 9.9% from last year. Table game play was down 16%. In Delaware, the state’s three track racinos asked for relief from millions in state fees for table game licenses, saying the new competition was seriously impacting their play, while increasing competition for supervisory help was boosting labor costs.

Ed Sutor, CEO of Dover Downs, said the combined fees of $13.5 million and the reduced play was hurting both Dover and Harrington, with both tracks losing money on their table games. Delaware’s governor, Jack Markell, showed little sympathy, saying the racinos were aware of the competitive environment when they launched table games.

Brian Selander, the governor’s spokesman, said, “The racinos were actively involved in negotiating these costs as part of the launch of table games. They knew there was competition coming from nearby states. The taxes support teacher and state police salaries, and the governor is not inclined to push for changes in this agreement.”

Harrington CEO Patti Key said further new competition from Maryland “would be crushing for Harrington and Dover.”


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