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Delaware pol seeks online sports betting, cuts to state’s online tax take

TAGs: Delaware, sports betting

delaware-bushweller-online-sports-bettingDelaware wants to allow its licensed online gambling operators to add parlay sports betting to their gaming menu.

Last week, state Sen. Brian Bushweller (pictured) filed SB183, which (among other things) would authorize state-licensed online operators to add parlay sports betting to their casino, poker and lottery options.

The Delaware Lottery already offers land-based parlay sports bets, in which bettors must select the winners of at least three different games. Delaware was among the four states – the others being Montana, Nevada and Oregon – whose existing sports betting products were grandfathered under the 1992 federal PASPA measure that banned betting everywhere else.

Nevada has been offering mobile wagering for a few years now but Bushweller’s timing may have more to do with his state’s moribund regulated online market. Delaware’s total online revenue in 2015 came to $1.8m, down nearly 14% from 2014’s total. Compare that to New Jersey’s regulated market, which rose more than one-fifth last year.

Delaware had originally projected that its annual online revenue would top $5m, of which the first $3.75m would go to the state. In other words, the state’s three licensed operators – Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway – have yet to earn a plug nickel from online operations in the two years since the market launched.

Bushweller’s bill would scrap that $3.75m provision and tax online revenue at the same rate as land-based casino table games, which Bushweller also wants to reduce. SB183 would eliminate a table game franchise fee and cut the table revenue tax rate from 29% to 20%. Further cuts would reduce the rate to 15% by 2018.

The changes would cost the state $13m in the first year alone, but Bushweller believes casino owners would be suitably incentivized to build up their table operations to the point where both the state and the casinos are each making more off table games than the state is currently collecting. SB183 is currently before the Senate Finance Commmittee.

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