Delaware lawmakers took very important decision almost at the end of this legislative session approving a $10 million financial bailout for the three casinos in the state.
The bailout became reality after the three casinos in Delaware, which operate under US gambling laws, expressed their frustrations, coming from serious competition from neighboring states as well as paying larger amounts from their revenue to the state.
The legislation, which passed this week, was a pared-down edition of an earlier bill introduced in June. The changed version request from the state to help pay vendor costs for slot machines, but on the other hand the proposals to abolish casinos’ yearly $3 million table-games fee, as well as to decrease the state’s share of table-game revenue, were dropped.
Lawmakers approve casino bailout in Delaware
• The amount is $10 million
• The three state casinos will take advantage of it
• Casinos have been struggling with competition and paying larger share of their revenue to the state
At the end of June the US Senate approved the almost $10 million aid, which will be given to the three casinos. Senators had to vote on two separate bills for the bailout.
One of them provided the money, and the other one concerned the changes on how the state will tax and support casinos in the future. Both measures passed on a 14 to 5 vote.
Sen. Brian Bushweller, Dover Democrat and sponsor of the bills that later went to the House, commented on the big gambling news: “We got half of it done today. At least I think we’ve sent them a package that does provide the Band-Aid that we need, and sort of lays the groundwork for a more permanent kind of effort to stabilize this industry so we lose as little as possible out of this situation.”
The senators who were against the bill were far less, but they expressed their concerns about the difficulties regarding the budget as it is, quite loud.
Associated Press reported on Sen. Karen Peterson, Stanton Democrat words: “I wish we had known during Joint Finance Committee hearings that there was an extra $10 million sitting around. There were a lot of hungry kids in Delaware that could have used that money. There were a lot of elderly people who can’t make ends meet who could have used that money.”
Other senators were extremely alarmed as to how the money would be put to proper use in relation to the actual interests of Delaware.
Rep. Dennis E. Williams, Talleyville Democrat, commented: “There’s nothing in this bailout that says anything about keeping jobs. They’re saying that this is to preserve jobs, but there is no guarantee that they have to keep those jobs.”
The casino bailout in the House voting passed with 27-10 votes, shortly after the Senate approved the legislation.
The biggest supporters of the bill stressed on the fact that the bailout has to be treated as an effort to save jobs in the state’s gaming industry, which is crucial for the funding of Delaware.
Another fact, which was repeated, was that since the mid-1990s when gambling was legalized in the state, the share of casino revenue that went to the state has increased continually. House sponsor Rep. William Carson, D-Smyrna, said: “The revenue sharing arrangement no longer works in today’s saturated market.”
Naturally, the opposers of the bailout put forward the fact that casinos haven’t been completely honest with their accounts and the bailout would not provide for any guarantees that people’s jobs will be saved.
Rep. Dennis Williams, D-Wilmington, commented: “I hope the casinos show good faith and do not cut their work force,” after withdrawing an amendment, which would have required the casinos to return the money if they reduced their employers by 3% or more.