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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Governor Signs Table Games Bill to Bring Poker to Delaware

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The speed at which Delaware acted on its desire to add table games to its casino offerings was remarkable. Its House voted 27-5 to pass the bill only about a week before the Senate agreed with the vote and sent the piece of legislation to the Governor’s desk, where he signed it the same day. And at a pace uncharacteristic of government action, poker and other table games are officially a reality for Delaware casinos.

The bill, originally introduced by Governor Jack Markell himself, saw its way to a House vote during the third week of January, where legislators considered the option of adding poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette to casinos. It was noted that more than $40 million could be added to the state revenue in the first year by adding table games to the three facilities currently possessing slot machine licenses. The revenue was looked upon as a welcome benefit to an ailing state economy, and the governor urged quick passage of the bill.

That is exactly what happened. Within two weeks, the House gave it the 27-5 stamp of approval, and the Senate voted 15-4, with two abstaining votes, to pass the legislation on Thursday, January 29. Governor Markell signed it into law the same day.

Though poker is among them, the exact list of table games will be determined by the Delaware Lottery Commission, and they could be implemented at Dover Downs, Delaware Park, and Harrington Raceway & Casino as soon as the summer of 2010, according to the Governor’s office. In the meantime, new casino workers will be hired and trained, and it is speculated that as many as 750 new jobs will be created as a result.

The addition of table games in Delaware facilities will allow the state to compete with neighboring New Jersey, home of Atlantic City. But on a larger scale, the example set by Delaware may be one that is followed by other states seeking additional revenue streams and assistance in tough economic times.

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