WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Delaware lawmakers approve casino bail-out in final minutes. Misguided?

In the final minutes of the legislative session, Delaware lawmakers approved the $10 million casino bailout, even though casino operators gave them absolutely no guarantee that they wouldn't lay off workers in an effort to stay profitable.

Considering the stripped-down roadway infrastructure program, as WDEL talk-show host Al Mascitti says, think about the casinos each and every time you hit a pothole on the pavement; think about the casinos each and every time a needed roadway improvement is delayed; think about the casinos when you pay higher tolls on Route One.

What explains the inclination of Delaware lawmakers to prop up the casinos when a whole lot of other stuff in this state needs to be propped up?

The casino operators' lobbyists actively schmoozing our legislators, and deals unknown to us? A pervasive conviction among our lawmakers that Delaware cannot afford to let our casinos to fail? In that case, why not a lifeline for other failing businesses? (If you think about it, it's truly ironic that Delaware lawmakers are more sympathetic to the very businesses which impose high costs on society, with gambling addictions producing bankruptcy, theft, marital break-up, even suicide.)

But ultimately, is it not throwing good money after bad? It would seem gambling has reached the saturation point (except for full-fledged sports gambling). Ironically, Sunday's PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER carried a Page One story on Atlantic City's ailing casinos. The Christie Administration had kicked in $260 million in tax increment financing to ensure the Revel casino complex would be built. Now, Revel has filed for bankruptcy twice, and will close unless a buyer can be found. The Christie Administration gambled on Revel, and the Markell Administration gambled on Fisker Automotive. Both ultimately foolhardy, but I'd choose automotive over gambling every time!

Think about it. If Atlantic City is in trouble, what does that say about the future of casinos in Delaware?


Posted at 6:22am on July 1, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Jul 1, 2014 8:18am
The lawmakers created legalized gambling to support their own addiction to money. Now they're pumping $10 million into the casinos to try and save their fragile cash cow.

This is another exploitation of the poor, just like cigarettes, and in both cases, it's fuel for the spending addiction of the politicians.

Tue, Jul 1, 2014 9:29am
Think of the casinos every time we hit a pothole? I have never seen a casino driving a vehicle! Why are road improvements their problem? Its patrons drive and pay for road repair every time they pay for gasoline. The patrons also are the ones paying the taxes the casinos send to Dover. Do you think the casino prints the money? The patrons pay the money at the slots and race tracks. The tax rate decreases the money the patrons can win.

The casinos, like much of the entertainment industry, suffered heavily during the recent bad winter. Fewer people went to the casinos as the roads were often snow/ice covered. Heating bills were higher, so there was less disposable income. If states like Delaware and New Jersey insist on using gambling as a source of income, they have to understand there will be bad years as well as good ones. There will be years when you must reduce your take in order to keep your cash cow alive.

Just for the record, I have never been to a casino or racetrack in my life. I just tire of hearing the cry from liberals for anyone to be paying higher taxes and for no one to ever get a break.

Tue, Jul 1, 2014 9:34am
Funny that this banner ad is at the top of this article:

Delaware Council on Gambling Problems, Inc.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Jul 1, 2014 10:53am
Just like everything keeps changing, so it is with gambling. In the 1930's, apparently Delaware Park was a popular place to go, as it was the only legalized gambling in the Wilmington area [not sure when Brandywine Raceway came into existence off 202]. Then with Vegas, later Atlantic City, and the Indian Reservations casinos, Delaware gets into the game with our Racinos. Times have changed since; today, the younger folks are gambling via the internet. Young guys I know play Texas Holdem on-line and Fantasy Football, etc., etc. So why go to Del Park? That is the real problem. The Second problem is competition from nearby Maryland [track apparently owned by the Del Park or Dover Downs group - don't remember which - so what are they complaining about, as they created their own competition] and the casino in Philly/Chester. So the out-of-staters are going there, not here.

Delaware Park, from what I've been told - as I don't gamble, and haven't been inside - has mediocre restaurants, no shows, etc. They've not done much apparently to make Delaware Park a destination for today's gambler. Well who's problem is that? Not yours or mine. So why should we bail them out? I'm sure if my company were sinking, the taxpayers would not be bailing out my company; we'd be told too bad, so sad.

So essentially we the taxpayers just gambled $10 million per year that this dying business is going to turn around. What a sucker bet that was.

Tue, Jul 1, 2014 11:42am
None of these "institutions" are "too big to fail" and none should be bailed out...

Speaking of bailouts on the backs of taxpayers...GM's recent recall of MILLIONS of vehicles due to ignition "issues" just may have them facing possible failure once again. Could we please let them file for bankruptcy this time and do it the right way? Then they could have the Ford Renaissance Center (to replace the GM RenCen) in downtown Detroit.

Should GM/0bama change the slogan?...no more "0sama is Dead/GM is alive", now it's..."Chevy like Iraq...sinking."
(play on their "Chevy like a rock" theme and reference to Iraq's current implosion)

Tue, Jul 1, 2014 2:52pm
I would love to see a count from each politician's office of the number of calls/emails/texts/FB posts, etc., supporting the casino bailout and those against. My guess, we would see the pols aren't representing the people, but themselves.

De-politicize the casinos, let them fend for themselves, and see what happens. My money's on Harrington closing, Dover Downs getting sold, and Delaware Park downsizing. The casinos' time has come and gone. But politicians aren't exactly bright. They still think cars will be a big employer in Delaware.

Tue, Jul 1, 2014 9:53pm
Again, as mentioned many times, if you were serious about keeping casinos, you'd give them the East Coast monopoly on legalized pot (let them sell it on-line at discount prices) which would go a long way to increase revenues of this state.... Gambling is addictive. Pot is not....

Wed, Jul 2, 2014 8:30am
"De-politicize the casinos, let them fend for themselves, and see what happens."~Arthur

I agree 100%.

Wed, Jul 2, 2014 2:49pm
But history will probably rate this Delaware legislative session by what happened with HB 334, the Common Core bill.

This scrapped the current test which our own Governor Markell hails right here: (5:35 mark)


and replaces it with a one time test that is exactly what the current DCAS originally replaced... as per this Breitbart link...


If you want hypocrisy, you cannot find any clearer evidence than this...

Knowing all the details I know, I am predicting we are headed for Delaware turning red by 2016 (results wont be out this 2014 election), provided their is honesty in reporting so that Democrats get blamed for moving this direction... Ironically the only Democrats who voted against it, are those who have familial ties with education. And to their credit, on first draft, all Republicans opposed it.

Such a threat may, I realize, seem superfluous if you have no concept of Common Core. But, if you've ever experienced Common Core, you understand the seriousness of the backlash that will take place.. Just look at the New York mayors race which centered on Education and Common Core. If you are worried about other things, then in your sleepwalking, you today are probably still saying "what is so bad about higher standards".....

That is the argument... And just so everyone who was sleepwalking knows, the Common Core test bill DID NOT PASS THE SENATE..... (but...was then rescinded.... and a new vote cast, with 3 democrats and 1 Republican switching their votes....

The one legislative Republican who is often comically typecast as little Napoleon because of his tendency to chase the limelight wherever it is showing. (Like the little show off in the kindergarten play who chases the spot light around the stage, panning for the cameras, where ever it happens to shine....

His 30 pieces of silver turned out to be an interview with Chuck Todd at 9 am this upcoming Friday... (the blub calls him a "rising star" lol...) Talk about misnomers.... (As most of you know, Jack Markell has ties with Chuck Todd and is frequently on his show ) So we KNOW how that connection came about...

Nothing wrong with it... unless of course you have a child that is currently getting a really good education (as per the video), and as the article from Breitbart (smile) posted earlier attests, will now suffer hugely and needlessly....

Wed, Jul 2, 2014 3:04pm
All discussion on the Casino bill here neglects one thing. Not supporting it hurts the economy right now...

As all of us, when faced with a choice between something that is not working perfectly and the great unknown, will stick to keeping something that is not working perfectly...

How many of us, for example in our youth, nursed along our beat-up cars to get a little more life, instead of mortgaging our future with 5 years of 30% of our income paying back on a new car?

The problem with this effort was that no other plan was offered... The choice was leave them hanging... or nothing...

Like everyone, the nothing won out over the great unknown of what disasters could potentially happen...

It's a band-aid. We have 6 months to try an come up with a new real solution. But anytime you tell someone "this is ridiculous", you won't get the results you want, unless you offer a viable alternative....

It's human psychology, if nothing else...

Wed, Jul 2, 2014 4:22pm
Kavips - How much would $10 million buy in infrastructure jobs right now? Good paying infrastructure jobs? More than it'll buy going to casinos' bottom line, where low-paying jobs will be cut in 4 months anyway.

Mon, Jul 7, 2014 8:59am
The casino bailout is democratic government at its worst.

Private business relieved of tax money burden. Money that could have gone to far more needy programs, i.e., Head Start, mental health services, roads, waterway clean-up, tax relief, family services, unemployment, and on and on.

The schlock business people almost drove the Delaware horse racing business into the ground. They get a second chance when the State gives them, yes gives them, an exclusive license to operate gambling in their horse racing facilities. Now the casinos are failing. Ironically, they made the same business mistake with casinos that they did with horse racing: they did little to diversify their locations and thereby draw a more diverse crowd. Better yet, as neighboring states passed gambling, what did the Delaware operators do? They tried to buy into those states instead of trying to preserve their regional monopoly.

The ultimate BS is that the legislature gave away this money. They took on faith that the casinos were in financial trouble without demanding some accounting. They got nothing in return to protect jobs.

My dog could have done a better job than the legislature, because at least he understands who is in charge and he never bites the hand that feeds him.

Boycott the casinos. Let them die.

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