The Delaware Lottery and Gaming Study Commission, created by lawmakers to examine possible ways to help the state’s three struggling racino properties, heard testimony from casino executives on the dire situation of the state’s industry in its first public meeting since July, held last month in Dover.
Executives from the state’s three racetrack casinos—Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway—made presentations before the commission that outlined the losses each has experienced from new competition in Maryland and Pennsylvania, a burden they say has been exacerbated by the state’s high revenue tax and fee structure.
The administration of Delaware Governor Jack Markell provided some relief earlier this year, distributing $80 million in excess funds to the racinos to cover purchase of new gaming equipment. However, the executives say that funding did not address the heart of the problem, which is the drain on profits from a slot revenue tax that is effectively over 60 percent.
“We feel like we’ve flattened out there,” said Patti Key, chief operating officer of Harrington Raceway and Casino.
Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, testified that its publicly traded company has operated $320,000 in the red from the last quarter of 2012 through the second quarter of this year. Delaware Park is forecasting a 17 percent drop in gross revenues this year, with Harrington predicting a 4 percent drop.