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Delaware Advances Online Gaming Bill

It’s okay to be a step or two behind the leader, as long as you are ahead of the rest of the field. To that end, Delaware moved past the vast majority of the United States and sidled one step further towards offering some type of regulated, legal online gaming and gambling legislation for their constituents. Nevada has already passed online gambling regulation in that state, and just this week at a special assembly of their gaming commission stated online gaming licenses would be available for purchase in 30 to 60 days.

While the bill which proposes online betting in Delaware is not the final step needed to allow Delaware residents to gamble freely and legally online, it is an all-important step that shows online gambling in the state has support from the state’s constituents and lawmakers. The bill will now move on to the House for a vote, and passage there would all but guarantee some form of legalized online gambling in the state sooner rather than later. The bill was pushed forward despite objections from the state’s harness racing industry who are concerned about competition. The House Gaming and Parimutuels Committee in Delaware voted Thursday, May 17, to pass the bill forward, and there are several key components to the bill in its current state.

Online Slots and Table Games play for Delaware residents would be legalized if this version of the bill goes through, and Governor Jack Markel is pushing for Keno to be provided in at least 100 different brick-and-mortar sites throughout the state, rather than just in the three existing casinos. Markel is at the forefront of politicians around the United States who understand the massive potential that National Football League sports betting can offer, and is also backing legislation to deliver legalized betting on NFL football games in at least 20 Delaware locations.

Officials in that state, in a move to get backing from brick-and-mortar casinos, have said that the influx of income delivered by legalized online gaming in Delaware would help physical casinos as well. They are proposing to eliminate the $4 million slot machine fees that existing casinos pay, and are also willing to cut the table game fees paid by the same casinos from $6.75 million to $3 million. There would be trade-offs and certain responsibilities the brick-and-mortar casinos would have to agree to, but handing a casino more than $7 million to basically vote yes for online regulated gaming play in Delaware is probably looking like a no-brainer decision for those casino owners.

State finance Secretary Tom Cook is one of the many politicians in Delaware that is pushing for legalized online gaming, and he mentioned that the key to making it successful is ensuring “that this industry stays competitive for the years to come.”
State Representative John Viola is the chief sponsor of the bill, and he stated that “Online gaming is coming … and we need to decide in this building whether we want to be on board with that or not.” Obviously, state lawmakers do want some form of legalized online gaming in Delaware, as the smooth passage by The House Gaming and Parimutuels Committee Thursday definitely shows.