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Delaware Governor Calls For Online and Sports Gambling

Sports betting is currently only legal in the state of Nevada, but several other states are considering passing laws allowing the activity. New Jersey has authorized Atlantic City casinos to open sports books, and now Delaware is poised to become the third state to regulate a multi-billion dollar industry.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell does not intend on stopping with sports betting. Markell has unveiled a plan that would completely overhaul the gaming industry in Delaware, and put the state among the top gaming destinations in the entire US. Lawmakers have been lukewarm to Markell's proposal so far.

In addition to the sports books, which would be located inside existing casinos, Markell also spoke of adding keno rooms in over 100 locations throughout the state. That type of expansion would put Delaware on par with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada in terms of the amount of gaming establishments. Atlantic City only has eleven casinos, although most of the Delaware gaming halls would not be offering full-scale casino gambling, only keno.

"If the governor gets his wish and gambling is expanded to the point he has described, we would have to look at Delaware as a significant threat to some of the major gaming destinations in the US," said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. "And that doesn't include the sports books. If sports betting is regulated in Delaware, they would then have something unique to the gaming industry that currently can only be found on the West Coast."

The money generated from the gambling expansion would help lower the tax rate for existing casino that do have table games. The fees the casinos currently pay on those machines are $6.75 million. That figure would be cut to $3 million. An additional $4 million that the casinos pay in slot machine fees would also be eliminated for the casinos if the Markell plan takes effect.

The online gambling expansion would include giving Delaware residents the ability to wager within online casinos, while also being permitted to buy lottery tickets online. Several states have gone to the online lottery sales, and have benefited millions of dollars from the change.

The US is in the midst of a gambling revolution, with casinos becoming the answer to dozens of states' budget deficits since the economic recession. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, Iowa, and California have been among the states that have had major gambling expansion within the past three years. Maryland and Maine have also opened their first casinos, and New York is considering similar changes to their law as the ones Markell is proposing in Delaware.

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