Delaware Lawmakers Eye Casino Relief - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Lawmakers Eye Casino Relief

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 8:22 PM Updated:

DOVER, Del.- Delaware lawmakers are set to consider whether to reduce the state's taxes on casino revenues, a move supporters said will allow the state's three gaming establishments to remain in business.

Senate Bill 114 would add brackets to the state's tax on slot revenue and cut the nearly 30 percent tax on table games to 15 percent. It would also eliminate the an annual license fee among the state's three casinos. 

Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover), the primary sponsor of SB 114, said the current tax structure could jeopardize casinos like Dover Downs and the roughly 1,500 workers employed there.

"There does have to be substantial progress made in reducing the damage the state has done to the casino industry," he said.

However, Bushweller said the proposal could cost the state more than $20 million. It comes at a time when state lawmakers are looking at how to deal with roughly $170 million in cash projected to carry over from the current fiscal year into the next one.

Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, said the casino needs to see relief on how much it pays to the state in order to improve its long-term viability. The company lost more than $1 million last year, according to its public filings.

"We make money, everybody else gets it but us and we end up with a million dollar loss. This is just not sustainable," he said.

Sen. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington North), a chairperson of the state's Joint Finance Committee, has asked Gov. John Carney's administration to get involved with finding a solution to the issue.

In a letter to Carney, McDowell said he, as chairman of the finance committee would hold the bill until March 14 to see if the executive branch could help address the issue.

"I feel the skill, knowledge, and analytics necessary for this type of negotiation is uniquely housed in the executive branch of our state's government," he said.

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