Bill to Allow More Casinos in Del. Temporarily on Hold - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bill to Allow More Casinos in Del. Temporarily on Hold

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC)- A bill to allow more casinos in Delaware is temporarily on hold. The House Gaming and Parimutual committee heard the plan this afternoon. Representatives who spoke with WBOC after the hearing said they expect another hearing on it down the road.

Adding more casinos has come up twice in the past decade. Both times the bills never got out of committee.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Dennis E Williams, D-Talleyville, continued to say this is a jobs bill first. And he questioned the current casinos' assertion the market is already saturated - pointing to Maryland's Ocean Downs recently announcing expanded hours.

"I would think if there are no more gamblers out there, you wouldn't need to increase hours. There wouldn't be the demand. But apparently there is."

The current casinos still point to saturation of the market as a big reason to stop the bill, along with the difficult economic and employment situations their establishments are facing.

"Virtually every wall street analyst," said Ed Sutor, CEO of Dover Downs. " Everyone following the industry will tell you the mid-Atlantic area is not only saturated, but super saturated."

"The three racinos want to have full-time employees to be working for them, not just part-time. But the tax structure and pressures of competition make it impossible to function that way," said Bill Fasy, head of Delaware Park.

People looking to be involved in the new casinos if they are built say building them will be a $400 million shot in the arm to the state's economy.

"It doesn't cost any of you a farthling, a nickel or a dime," said Darrell Baker, a lobbyist State Line Casino, LLC. "All you have to do is grant the licenses and get out of your new joint venture partner's way."

Representatives for construction workers in the state also pushed hard for the bill saying it would create jobs in their industry.

Harrington and Dover Downs are both in Kent County. There aren't any Kent County lawmakers on the Gaming and Parimutual Committee. Rep. Darryl Scott, D-Dover, says they will push back hard against this bill when it comes to the full House of Representatives.

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