Plan to Add More Casinos in Delaware Still Lacks Enough Support - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Plan to Add More Casinos in Delaware Still Lacks Enough Support to Move Forward

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - New casinos in Delaware are looking less and less likely. Lawmakers who are pushing for them still do not have the votes to move their bill forward.

Lawmakers last month tabled a bill that would allow two new casinos, including one in Sussex County and one in New Castle County. Wednesday, the bill was back up for discussion. However, that discussion did not get the bill very far.

The bill's sponsor said he is one vote short of what he needs to move the plan forward to the full House of Representatives. Unless he gets it, the proposal is not going anywhere.

"We need one more vote in this committee to release the bill," said Rep. Dennis E. Williams, D-Talleyville. "I think we have two people we're discussing this with. I'd like to have both those votes."

But time is running out on this year's legislative session. It ends June 30. Wednesday was the last day officially set aside for committee hearings.

Dover Downs CEO Ed Sutor would like it if the bill were truly stuck in committee. He said there are no additions or amendments to the bill that could get him to support it.

"We just can't do it. I can't imagine the state being better off," he said. "His argument is that two additional casinos will lead to more money for the state. My position is it can't. It will probably put some of the existing casinos out of business."

Kent County Administrator Mike Petit de Mange expressed the Levy Court's opposition to more casinos. Tuesday, the Sussex County Council voted three to one to oppose them, also. However, Millsboro Mayor Bob Bryan recently wrote a letter supporting expansion, saying they would enhance the business climate for all casinos. 

"This will make Delaware a destination," he wrote. "For those seeking excitement and entertainment already found in the seashore of our small state."

But Rep. Williams acknowledged if there is to be movement for his bill, it may have to wait until next year.

"I'd like to wrap it up now. Because we could have people working in six months," he said. "That is why I keep pushing this in spite of some of the set backs. This one thing that will create jobs."

Though there are no more official committee days left, if Williams convinces that sixth vote to side with him, the committee chair could call a hearing, given enough advanced public notice. That would be the only chance for life this bill would have remaining this year.

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