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Delaware legalizes online gambling

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June 28, 2012

By Hannah Mead


DOVER, Delaware: Delaware has become the first state to legalize online gambling.[1] Hopes of creating jobs and increasing revenues overcame concerns over social consequences.[2]

The Delaware House of Representatives approved the bill in early June,[2] and the Delaware State Senate passed it on June 27,[3] and Governor Jack Markell signed it the next day.[1]

The U.S. Department of Justice clarified last year that a state may legalize online gambling if it is kept within the state borders. The Delaware bill requires geo-location software to limit gambling to people within the state.[1]

Markell said the legalization would create "a couple thousand jobs" and help the state compete with casinos in neighboring states.[1] Senate President Pro-Tem Anthony DeLuca said the bill would "keep Delaware at the forefront of developing new and better gambling options." The bill lowers taxes and fees for casinos,[3] but the added gambling activity online is expected to be a net plus of $7.75 million in tax revenues for the state.[1]

Due to opposition from the Governor, the bill did not include an amendment sought by the horse-racing industry that would have sent more money into race purses.[2] The Markell administration did promise to reconsider the amount allotted for races after online gambling takes off.[3]

The 21-member state Senate voted 14-6 in favor of the bill, with one member abstaining due to conflict of interest.[3] One of the "No" votes came from state Senator Dave Lawson, who said, "We don’t need in-home gambling in this state; we have enough vices out there now."[3]

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