The Delaware casino that is land-based has been struck hard by increased competition from brand new markets in neighboring states, as the newer and shinier casinos of Pennsylvania and Maryland outperform its three struggling, and highly taxed, racinos.
Dover Downs is Delaware’s biggest and just publicly traded racino, but high domestic taxes and increased competition over the state line means crisis for the home and the state’s two other racinos.
The sector, which comprises Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs, and Delaware Park, peaked in 2006, the Pennsylvania began issuing its first casino licenses, when slot revenues hit more than $650 million year. By 2016, slots and table revenues combined had plunged to $398 million.
Meanwhile, outfall from the new MGM nationwide Harbor, which launched in Maryland year that is late last stands poised to be the final nail in the coffin. That property caused other casinos in Maryland and West Virginia to ramp up their own marketing drives, drawing even more customers away from Delaware’s ailing properties.
The three racinos cannot compete because they pay higher state taxes than their counterparts across the edge, and they’re begging legislators for help.