Delaware Close to Legalized Sports BettingPublished January 13, 2009 by OCR Editor
Anti-gambling governor to leave office on Jan. 20.
The U.S. state of Delaware could go a step closer to legalizing sports betting when Governor Ruth Ann Minner leaves office on January 20, legislators have said.
The push to legalize betting in the tiny east coast state was put on hold in 2007 when the Democrat governor announced that she would veto any legislation to legalize it.
Minner will be replaced by governor-elect Jack Markell, also a Democrat. Markell has already promised to consider legalization, saying he needs to "understand the costs and the benefits."
House Speaker Bob Gilligan (Democrat) said he believes betting could be approved in the upcoming legislative session, saying "If we're going to do it, we're going to do it quickly."
The last attempt to legalize sports betting in Delaware was knocked back in the Senate Finance Committee after being approved by the House.
But Senate Speaker Thurman Adams (Democrat) said he expects the legislation will be pushed through to a Senate hearing, a big step toward eventual legalization.
Estimating the benefits
Sports betting is sure to bring extra revenue to the Delaware state coffers, although there is debate over exactly how much the figure would be.
A recent report by the state's gaming industry said sports betting could bring in as much as $71 million. A Governor's Task Force Report gave a more modest total, estimating an additional $22.5 million to $30.6 in the first year.
One this is for certain - the close proximity of Delaware to the large population centers of neighboring New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, means it is more than just Delaware residents who are waiting to see what happens.