Peering into the Future of Gambling on Delmarva - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Peering into the Future of Gambling on Delmarva

(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Like so many industries, retail, banking, even journalism, a big part of the future of gaming on Delmarva looks to be on the Internet. Right now, Delaware is getting its feet wet with online gambling.

"We have opportunities here to create something new," said Vernon Kirk, director of the Delaware Lottery. "Something that's never happened in this country before. So, it's carpe diem. We're seizing the moment."

Kirk says because it's so new it's unclear how much revenue online gaming will generate, especially because, due to federal law, gaming can only happen from computers inside the state. But that could change.

"One of the things that's being looked into as well is joining an interstate consortium, like Powerball and Mega Millions," said Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown. "The pool of money that's available for winnings is much larger than what Delaware itself can provide."

Nevada and New Jersey would be partner options if a consortium became legal. The Internet may be exciting for some, but Delaware Finance Sec. Tom Cook offers a caveat.

"You cannot just shift the players from the brick and mortar locations over to locations on the Internet site, because you've accomplished nothing at that point."

And, of course, there's always the possibility of more brick and mortar locations popping up in Delaware. Rep. Dennis Williams, D-Talleyville, is going to keep pushing his plan for two more.

"It has been close for a couple of years, literally within one or two votes. So, it could swing either way, depending on how a few people in the middle feel," he said.

Maryland will definitely have two more casinos open in the next few years. Stephen Martino, the state's director of Lottery and Gaming Control, thinks the state needs to allow the market to settle from there.

"Get these casinos that have already been authorized up and going, seeing what the effect on the market is and then moving forward."

Sports betting isn't legal in Maryland. But it is on a limited basis for NFL games in Delaware. The first state's casinos would love to see that expanded to all sports.

Kirk says he'd expect the kinds of incremental changes seen over the past five year in Delaware to continue to be the pattern.

"Honestly, what happens five years from now or ten years from now? Nobody can say. Something will be happening."

And he says Delaware will be well-positioned when it does. 

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