Thanks to recent legislation being signed into law, casinos in Delaware will now be able to reap the benefits of new tax relief.
Casinos operating in the United States pay taxes based on certain requirements. In most states, legislators have allowed casinos to offer gaming options with taxes paid to the city or county in which the venue is located as well as the state. In Delaware, the three casinos in operation have been struggling as of late, with online gaming not even helping to provide much-needed revenues. In an effort to assist, lawmakers of the state have decided to pass a new law that will give the gaming venues a tax break.
Signed Into Law
After the Delaware State Senate passed legislation for a casino tax break, Governor John Carney signed the bill into law just a few hours later. The Senate voted 17 to 3, with one member abstaining from voting, to see the bill move on to the Governor’s desk for consideration. With the passage of the bill, the state will lose almost $17 million in revenues, but supporters hope that the changes will help the struggling gaming venues gain ground.
With the new law, the tax rate for slot gaming will drop by 1%. The table game tax rate will be cut almost in half which will help to provide the casino with a larger bottom line. A license fee for table gaming of $3 million will be suspended which will keep money in the venues pockets. Casinos will also have the ability to lower the slot tax rate to 3% total by investing money in their property, which will in turn, provide more money for the horse racing industry.
Years in the Making
The new law has been years in the making as casino executives have been working with lawmakers to pass legislation that would help the struggling gaming industry. Senator Brian Bushweller was at the center of efforts, trying to develop a bill that would work after negotiating with the lawmakers of the state as well as the casinos.
Bushweller recognizes that the casino industry is the number one private employer in the Kent County region of the state and the bill helps to ensure that the industry continues to be the number one provider of employment, with thousands of individuals relying on their positions to support their families.
Back in April, the bill passed within the Senate, but the House seemed to then have difficulty in moving the bill forward. House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf was not supportive of the measure, but after amendments were made last week, the bill was able to be voted on and approved, moving back to the Senate for consideration.
Bushweller introduced legislation involving tax relief for four years running, starting in 2015. Each year, the Senator was disappointed to see his efforts fail. This year, it seemed the odds were in the casinos favor as a bill has finally moved forward to give the casinos a fighting chance.
Supporters of the bill pushed the fact that the change needed to be made in order to prevent job loss as well as ensure that state will continue to receive revenues from gaming, which usually amounts to over $150 million each year.
Dover Downs, one of the three gaming venues in the state, was happy to see the tax break, the largest the casinos have seen in ten years. Speaking on the vote, Ed Sutor, CEO and President of Dover Downs, stated that the change has been a long time coming and the gaming venue is relieved that it is finally here. Dover Downs plans on making capital investments within their property, making additional expenses for marketing and attempting to drive more business to the state with the savings.