The General Assembly could vote on relief legislation as early as April 26

Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment on April 26 reported results for the first quarter of 2018 while at the same time Delaware’s General Assembly moved forward on restructuring formulas for taxing the casino’s revenue.

In a press released, the company’s revenues for the first quarter of 2018 were shown as $43,159,000 compared with $44,012,000 for the first quarter of 2017.

Gaming revenues of $34,134,000 were down 3.3 percent compared to the first quarter of last year, primarily from lower slot machine win. Other operating revenues increased to $9,025,000 compared to $8,706,000 last year.

In the Delaware General Assembly, legislators in the Senate’s Finance Committee favorably voted out a bill that would marginally lower how much revenue the state gains from the state’s three casinos.

The legislation is sponsored by outgoing Sen. Brian Bushweller. The lawmaker, who is to retire at the end of the current session, has tried for years to reduce how much the casinos pay the state, arguing continued losses threaten the businesses and more than 4,500 jobs in the state.

In addition to Dover Downs, there are casinos at the Harrington Raceway and at Delaware Park.

Originally introduced in January 2018 as SB 144, an April 25 Senate substitute package was reported out of the committee the same day with three favorable votes and one on its merits.

The package implements some of the recommendations adopted by the Lottery & Gaming Study Commission in 2015 and the Video Lottery Advisory Council in 2017, in recognition of significant changes in the regional gaming marketplace and the state’s desire to remain competitive in the face of a proliferation of gaming venues in neighboring states.

According to a synopsis of the legislation, it adjusts the revenue sharing model in a way that ensures that the state continues to benefit from video lottery proceeds, ensures continued employment and horse racing at the State’s three video lottery facilities, and ensures that the video lottery agents will be able to reinvest capital in their facilities, market their facilities, and maintain their high standards of customer service.

The bill, which could be considered today by the full Senate, the bill reduces the state’s share of gross table game revenues from 29.4 percent to 15.5 percent and suspends the table game license fee due June 1, 2019. That suspension could continue if agents invest more in the casinos.

It also increases purses for horsemen by 0.6 percent, phased-in over two years and cuts the state’s share of gross slot machine revenues by about 2 percent with like reductions over succeeding fiscal years.

Meantime, occupancy levels in the Dover Downs Hotel were approximately 73 percent for the first quarter of 2018 compared with 74 percent for the first quarter of 2017.

General and administrative expenses were consistent with last year.

Depreciation expense increased to $2,140,000 from $1,946,000 last year.

Net loss was $273,000, or $.01 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $196,000, or $.01 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2017.

Denis McGlynn, the company’s president and chief executive officer, 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.”

McGlynn added he hopes legislation in the General Assembly would, “implement a more fair and realistic formula and we hope the Delaware Legislature and Administration will act favorably on it.”