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Panel: No More Casinos In Delaware

Published: January 13, 2010 2:43 pm ET

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Five of six members of Delaware’s Sports and Video Lottery commission have overruled a paid study and recommended that no new casinos be built in the state.

The decisive decision came despite a report that had been commissioned and prepared by a New Orleans consulting firm that said two new venues would raise state revenue and not put Delaware’s three existing racinos out of business. The sports commission thought otherwise, several members insisting that any financial harm to the existing track operations was unacceptable.

The majority sent the paid study to the legislature on its first day, adding a contradictory footnote that read in part that the commission “concludes that it opposes the de facto finding in the report that would recommend two additional video lottery facilities, due to the potential job losses, not-withstanding any net job gains, (and) the potential damage to the horse racing industry and destabilization of the three current video lottery facilities.”

The legislature, in a session that adjourned last June 30, approved table games for Delaware, but left unfinished the business of how they would be run and regulated. That matter will be resolved in the legislative session that began this week. The House majority leader, Pete Schwartzkopf, and governor Jack Markell and his key department heads favor new casinos, presaging lively debate ahead.

The same is true in Kentucky, where Senate president David Williams filed a constitutional
amendment this week that would require any type of expanded gaming be submitted to a statewide referendum by voters. His bill, Senate Bill 2, would eliminate the possibility of slots at tracks being permitted by state statute. Track slots were approved by the House last summer, but the measure died when a Senate committee killed it.


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