Delaware Tracks Oppose VLT Tax Hike

VLTs would be subject to a tax increase in Delaware under the governor's plan.

The head of Delaware’s gambling industry group said Democratic Gov. Jack Markell’s proposed budget would be devastating to the state's three racetracks, including Delaware Park.

Markell has proposed doubling the number of casinos in Delaware, and increasing the state’s share of revenue from video lottery terminals at the facilities from 37% to 48%. He also said the state would study whether to allow table games at the VLT casinos, and also is pushing sports betting operated by the state lottery.

Delaware is one of four states in which sports betting isn’t banned by federal law. A New Jersey lawmaker who wants sports betting at racetracks and casinos in the Garden State is challenged the law.

Ed Sutor, chief executive officer of Dover Downs and president of the Video Lottery Advisory Council that represents Delaware’s three racetrack casinos, said his industry already has weathered two recent state tax increases. Sutor said the proposed 8% increase would make banks think twice before lending.

Last year, a group of investors announced plans to build a harness track and entertainment center in Sussex County in southern Delaware. At the time, the group said VLTs wouldn’t be needed, but now it has suggested the proposed harness track be used to expand casino-style gaming in the state.

Along with Delaware Park, the state has two harness tracks: Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway & Casino.