Advancement for Online Gambling in Delaware

Online gambling bill HB333 gets a not from the House and moves forward to the state Senate

This week was very active for online gambling in Delaware, where a new bill striving to legalize the pastime and expand venues for sports wagering was first approved by the state House of Assembly on June 12, and is now on its way to the Senate for a vote.

The measure has received support from Gov. Jack Markell, and it got the House's approval on a 29 to 8 vote after adding an amendment which will see a share of the revenue from the additional sports lottery sites allocated to the state's three racetrack casinos. Prior to this, a similar provision for thoroughbred racing purses had already been inserted into the bill at the request of the thoroughbred industry, administration officials said.

In addition, the bill will see keno expand from Delaware's three existing casinos to at least 100 sites. It also authorizes betting on NFL games in at least 20 more sites other than the casinos.

It has been assessed by Rep. John Viola, who drove the bill through the House, that it represents "the next logical step" in the evolution of Delaware's gambling industry, noting that there are other states interested in introducing online gambling in the wake of a U.S. Justice Department change of heart late last year that federal law does not preclude in-state betting online, as long as it does not involve gambling on sports.

A similar opinion was expressed by Ed Sutor, CEO of Dover Downs Inc., who said the proposed changes could help boost Delaware's gambling industry, which has seen increased competition from neighboring states in recent years.

The final version of the House bill requires that punters on lottery games online buy a prepaid card from an existing state lottery retailer, a move to placate lottery ticket retailers concerned about the impact on their businesses of online lottery ticket buying over the internet.

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