The Senate of Delaware is currently considering a casino tax revenue cut, a decision that has caused quite a stir.
In states across the US, casino gaming regulators set forth rules and regulations that casino operators must abide by in order to continue offering gaming services. One such regulation that every state has in common is a gaming revenue tax. In every state where casinos are present, operators must pay a certain percentage in taxes to the state. In Delaware, a group within the Senate is discussing a bill that would cut the current tax rate paid by three gaming venues in the region.
The Senate Finance committee may consider a bill this week that would see a big cut in the tax percentage aid by the three gaming venues of the state each year. Reportedly, Governor John Carney met with the sponsors of the bill yesterday to cut a deal that would prevent a large reduction of tax revenues from being sent to the state coffers. The Governor is also said to have asked the Senate President to place the bill on hold until May so lawmakers would have information on the revenue numbers of the state.
Currently, casinos in the state pay 43% from their slot gaming revenues and 30% for table games. An additional $3 million is to be paid each year to maintain licensing for table games. The rates were set back in 2009 and this was an increased from the original increase in the 1990s and early 2000s. Over the years, the rates have continued to go up instead of down.
With Senate Bill 144, Senators Harris McDowell and Brian Bushweller want to see a tiered tax rate put in place on slot gaming revenues. Casinos would pay from 32% to 43.5% based on monthly proceeds. Table game rates would go down to 15% and be set as a flat rate.
The bill would also do away with the annual licensing fee, which means the state would be losing millions of dollars each year. If the legislation is able to gain support, it would also remove a ban where the casinos would be able to remain open on the Christmas and Easter holidays, as they currently cannot.
Of course, there is opposition to these legislative changes. It seems the governor of the state is not pleased with the idea of lowering the casino gaming revenue tax. Many have been vocal of their opposition and feel that the changes could lead to as much as $20 million in lost revenues for the state.
However, supporters, including the three casinos of the state, have pointed out that while less money will be going to the state, the tax rate cuts would help the businesses stay in business. For some time now, all three casinos have struggled, even after the addition of online gaming. If the casinos were to shut down, as many as 3,000 people in the state would be out of work. With the tax cuts, the casinos could stay in operation, continuing to contribute to the state as well as remain an employer.
If the bill is voted on today, we shall see if it moves forward. A similar version was presented in the past and failed to gain any headway. The Senate Finance Committee will be meeting today at 2pm so we should know more by this afternoon or tomorrow. If the bill moves forward, it will still have some way to go before being signed into law. And without the governor’s approval, it seems unlikely that it could happen.