During the Internet Gambling forum held in Massachusetts, Vernon Kirk the Director of the Delaware Lottery jokingly, but not really jokingly, explained how tiny Delaware had to continue to push the envelope in order to continue to stay a step ahead of their larger neighbors –who were continually stealing Delaware’s ideas.
And now it appears Delaware has come up with their next innovation. According to an article by the Associated Press Delaware will try to ease the burden it has imposed on its Brick & Mortar casinos by having the state assume some of the fees to slot machine vendors:
“Members of a study commission, established by Delaware lawmakers in the face of growing competition from casinos in Maryland and Pennsylvania, agreed that the state should split 75 percent of the costs for slot machine vendors and fees with Delaware’s three casinos, rather than having the casinos continue to pay the full amount.”
Theoretically this would allow Delaware’s casinos to offer better promotions and put more money back into the operation by reducing their burden. However, the tradeoff for the proposal, which also included the elimination of The panel also approved elimination of the annual $3 million table games fee paid by the casinos effective July 1, 2015, would be a significant reduction in the amount of revenue the state would receive from Delaware’s casinos in half, from 29.4% down to 15%, and costing the state, $7.2 million annually according to the AP article.
All of the recent measures, from adding to table games, to online gambling, to the reduction of the burden casinos are responsible for is a byproduct of the gambling arms race that is currently taking place across the United States, but particularly along the eastern seaboard where states tend to geographically small with large border populations.
With Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and soon Massachusetts expanding their gambling footprint potential customers are continually poached by other states and these types of restructurings and expansions into new forms of gambling have become all too common.
The problem of course is that as Vernon Kirk joked, what can be done in one state can easily be copied in another. What we are likely to end up with is a game of gambling chicken, where the states continue to push the envelope until one eventually peels off and says, “you know what, it’s just not worth it.”