States Battle Over Bettors

As an increasing number of states seek to plug budget gaps and boost declining revenues by expanding gambling opportunities, the stakes keep getting higher in the competition to lure bettors.

Michael Cooper looks at the "feverish one-armed-bandit arms race" that has broken out throughout the East Coast, as neighboring states battle to poach and defend their gambling turf.

Take tiny Delaware for example, an early adopter, where "Gambling revenue accounts for more than 7 percent of Delaware's general fund budget, making it the state's fourth biggest revenue stream, ahead of its corporate income tax and gross receipts tax. But when new casinos in Maryland and Pennsylvania began to attract the gamblers who once fed quarters into Delaware's machines, the state acted. First it legalized a form of sports betting. Then it allowed table games including blackjack, craps and roulette. But its gambling revenues have continued to fall."

In a desperate effort to feed their addiction to gambling revenue, Gov. Jack Markell signed a law at the end of June, "that could make Delaware the first state to offer Internet gambling..." 

"The endless one-upmanship among states has some analysts wondering at what point the market will become saturated, and whether the industry has reached a point of diminishing returns," writes Cooper. 

 

Full Story: States Up the Ante in Bid to Lure Other States’ Bettors

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