Due to the increase of gambling competition from its neighboring states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, Delaware lawmakers are expected to introduce legislation later this week that would legalize online casino gambling and an online lottery in the state.
Through the Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012, First State legislators are hoping to add to the $570 million in revenue that was generated by its three land-based casinos in 2011. Included in the proposal are clauses that would expand live keno and sports wagering opportunities in its trio of casinos.
The bill will be introduced to both state legislative bodies–the House and Senate–before landing on the desk of Governor Jack Markell for his approval. It is believed that the proposal has a good chance at advancing, as Delaware legislators are typically not as argumentative as lawmakers in some other states.
“Delaware moves quickly, and we tend not to fight all that much,” said Brian Selander, Chief Strategy Officer to the governor.
Similar to other states that have proposed or considered online gambling legislation, Delaware was spurred into action by the U.S. Department of Justice ruling issued last December which determined that the 1961 Wire Act applied only to sports wagering. With this week’s expected proposal, the Blue Hen State will join California and New Jersey as states with online gambling bills already in front of their state legislatures.
Although Delaware is expecting peaceful progress following its Internet gambling proposal, California’s measure has created nothing but conflict, as the state’s tribal gaming interests, card rooms, and horse racing industry are at loggerheads as to how the online poker and gambling revenue should be divided. New Jersey’s proposed bill has been delayed until late April while Garden State legislators attend to budgetary issues.
Nevada still leads the way in the race to be the first state to offer Internet poker to its residents. Following the approval of online poker regulations last December, the Silver State has commissioned software testing of approved poker sites to be conducted by independent laboratories. The next major step is to issue online gambling licenses, which is expected to occur as early as this summer. The poker sites may be in operation by this fall, Nevada gaming officials have optimistically stated.