Dover Downs Hotel & Casino will reportedly be open on Christmas Day for the first time ever in the small Mid-Atlantic state’s history.
According to the Delaware State News, for the first time since slot machines were approved in Delaware in 1994, it is now legal to gamble at Delaware’s trio of casinos including Dover Downs, Delaware Park Casino in Wilmington and Harrington Raceway & Casino, formerly Midway Slots, on Christmas and on Easter, courtesy of legislation signed by Gov. John Carney on June 30 this year.
Passage of tax relief bill:
Long sought by leaders at Delaware casinos who say they’ve struggled without tax relief, the new law decreases the state’s share of revenue from slot machines by about one percentage point, from 42.5 percent or 41.5 percent. It also cuts the table game tax in half, to about 15 percent, suspends the table gaming licensing fee and will cut, casinos’ tax burden $16.8 million by 2020.
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Video Lottery Terminals:
According to the news portal, a provision in the casino relief bill allows for the state’s casinos to be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and to specifically operate video lottery terminals (VLTs). VLTs differ from slot machines in that there are a pre-determined number of winners, and players compete with each other for a prize rather than against the house. VLTs are most commonly found in Indian gaming casinos or racinos.
State’s other casinos won’t follow suit:
However, Dover Downs is the only one out of the three that will be taking advantage of the change in the law tomorrow. Both of the websites for the other two casinos indicate that they will be closed on Christmas.
In an email, Chief Executive Officer for Dover Downs, Denis McGlynn, reportedly said, “This was not something we’ve been pushing hard for.” McGlynn added that the first-time Christmas opening became “a small part of the give and take” during negotiations with the state for new tax relief.
Up from past years, more than 300 rooms at the hotel have already been booked for December 25th, said McGlynn.
“the magnitude of the expense“
“People don’t understand the magnitude of the expense of this kind of operation, and even though we got some modicum amount of relief, a lot of it went away with the minimum wage increase, increased health care costs, increased payments to slot vendors,” McGlynn added.
Last year loss:
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In January, with their fourth-quarter results for 2017 in, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino reported a $1,068,000 loss for the year, versus a $786,000 profit reported for the year prior. Last year’s total revenues were said to be nearly $177 million compared to $182 million in 2016.
Blaming the revenue sharing policy at the time, McGlynn said, “Once again the company demonstrated substantial gaming operational profitability which once again was totally wiped out by an unfair and outdated gaming revenue sharing formula,” he said. “Legislation has been introduced to implement a more fair and realistic formula and we hope the Delaware Legislature and Administration will act favorably on it.”
For workers and customers alike, feelings were reportedly conflicted about Dover Downs being open on Christmas Day.