I’ll Take Delaware in the Parlay, and the Under on Maryland

David Nitkin reported on Wednesday that the Delaware House of Delegates rejected Gov. Jack Markell’s sports book legislation that would allow sports gambling at Delaware’s racinos. Nitkin signed off with this line:

At the very least, the development is a relief to Maryland policy makers still working to get their slots program off the ground.

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As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend.” Reports of the death of Delaware’s sports book were premature.

The Delaware House of Representatives resurrected the sports betting bill it defeated May 5 and passed the measure with a compromise amendment in the early hours of May 8.

Shortly after midnight, the House voted to recall the Tuesday vote and then voted on an amendment that revised the proposed increase in the state’s share of gambling revenues and put table gaming on a fast track.

Not only that, but table games could be coming to a Delaware casino near you.

The amendment also said the state will have 75 days from the time the bill is signed to negotiate the details necessary to implement table games with the casinos, at which time the General Assembly will consider the proposal. In previous versions of the bill, table games were to be subject to a study that would determine not only the logistical and regulatory concerns that would come with them, but also hash out a revenue split that would be as favorable to the state as possible.

As Brian Griffiths (future MYR Chair) noted long ago, Maryland’s slots amendment would only split the existing slots market between us Delaware, West Virginia, and, Pennsylvania. Furthermore, the amendment would induce states like Delaware to go whole hog into sports betting and table games thereby providing an attraction for players who prefer those forms of gambling.

I’m no mealy mouthed gambling opponent. If people want to use their expendable income gambling its their right, and we shouldn’t need a constitutional amendment do so.

However, Maryland’s slot program was never intended that way, and now, as we predicted it is in disarray. Can you say Rocky Gap!

On the bright side though, the dog’s breakfast of handouts to Democratic interest groups is going to be a lot smaller.

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