Del. Lawmakers Considering Bill About Casino Revenue - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Lawmakers Considering Bill About Casino Revenue

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Slot machines at Dover Downs Casino. The state currently takes 62 percent of revenues from slot machines, according to CEO Ed Sutor. (Photo: WBOC) Slot machines at Dover Downs Casino. The state currently takes 62 percent of revenues from slot machines, according to CEO Ed Sutor. (Photo: WBOC)
Dover Downs Casino in Dover (Photo: WBOC) Dover Downs Casino in Dover (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del.- Delaware lawmakers have introduced a bill that would lower the state's share of casino revenues from slot machines and table games.

Currently, the state takes 62 percent of what casinos make on slots, according to Ed Sutor, CEO of Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. He also says the state makes 30 percent from table games.

"When you lose $700,000, something has to give. You can't continue to pay your mortgage, continue to pay all your employees, continue to market," he said.

The bill lowers the state's share to 15 percent over the next few years. Sutor says that is more in line with their competitors. It has not had a committee hearing yet.

Sutor says neighboring states in their casino market take less than 20 percent from their competitors.

He says payroll and marketing are riding on whether or not the state decides to pass the legislation lowering the payouts to the state.

"You have two things that we control- expenses. Marketing and payroll. If you cut payroll, how do you do that? There's going to be less people in this building," he said. "If you cut marketing, the customers are not going to come. They got a bright, new shiny place over in Maryland."

Some lawmakers say this is a bailout for the casinos and that the state should not be helping them out again. That sentiment was echoed in Dover on Tuesday.

"I think that there are plenty of jobs already at Dover Downs, and they should use that to benefit more of the employees. Better benefits, better pay," said Nancy Schroek, a Dover resident.

Gov. Jack Markell's office told WBOC Tuesday he does not endorse the bill at this time because of the tightness of next year's budget and the fiscal impact the governor says the bill will have.

A new MGM casino is being built at National Harbor in  Maryland just two hours down the road from Dover Downs. Sutor said that will cause problems, because customers may rather go to the new casino.

The bill also gives credits back to casinos for capital expenditures and licensing fees. Casinos like Dover Downs, today, pay $3 million to the state for the right to have table games. That money would come back to the casinos under this legislation. Some of those credits would pay for capital expenditures so casinos can keep their facilities up-to-date and continue to compete with other casinos in the area.

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