Delaware Making Moves Toward Legalization

By Debra SaundersGoogle

A bill that would legalize online casino games and the expansion of brick and mortar casinos within the state of Delaware is currently on its way to the state Senate for vote.

Delaware Secretary of Finance Tom Cook spoke at a hearing of the House Gaming and Parimutuels Committee and outlined provisions of the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012, House Bill 333. The Committee voted to release the bill for vote, despite facing criticism from anti-gaming advocates and the state’s harness racing industry that it would not receive a fair share of gaming revenue.

The bill proposes to offer online slots and table games at top rated online casinos as well as expanding keno beyond Delaware's current three existing casinos to at least one hundred locations throughout the state, as well as authorizing betting on NFL football in at least twenty more locations.

The presentation to the committee included testimony from industry insiders who spoke about ensuring that online gaming would include the necessary protection to keep minors from placing bets.

Melissa Blau, an online gambling consultant who has worked in the European gaming industry said, "Nobody wants underage gaming activity. Systems can be set up to monitor every computer keystroke made by someone who goes to an online betting site, and that registration and account information, and the monitoring of betting behavior, can help officials determine whether someone is underage.”

However, there is opposition to the legislation. Republican Representative Clifford Lee, told the administration that the speakers had not quashed his concerns about underage gambling.

He said, "If you were trying to sell me a new pickup today, you probably wouldn't have sold that vehicle.” Despite his protests, he did vote to send the bill to the Senate.

Rep. John Viola, chief sponsor of the bill stated, "Online gaming is coming, ... and we need to decide in this building whether we want to be on board with that or not.”



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