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September 24, 2021

The three racinos of the state can now add as many table games as they want

Delaware races to beat Pennsylvania at table games

(US).- Delaware’s legalization of table games last month has put the state neck and neck with Pennsylvania in rolling out the new industry. Delaware’s racinos anticipate games could be in place as early as May, edging out plans in Pennsylvania by a month or more.

All three racetracks in Delaware are off to the races trying to get open as quickly as possible,” Dover Downs President and CEO Ed Sutor said. “Everything depends on how fast we can hire employees, train them, get dealers and get up and going.”

Legislation signed into law by Delaware Governor Jack Markell January 28 clears the way for the state’s three racinos (Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway & Casino) to add as many table games as they want, Sutor said. The Delaware Lottery is in the process of establishing regulations and determining what type of games, which will include virtually anything that is offered in a Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino, Sutor said. “The easiest of the games is poker, we expect to have that up by May, the hardest game is craps - that takes a long time to teach,” Sutor said.

In Delaware, like Pennsylvania, table gaming is new, which means the states will be dipping from the same pool to find experienced employees and supplies and equipment. Both will be key in how quickly games get going, as well as getting regulations in place. Pennsylvania projected that would happen anywhere between June and September.

More than an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, Dover Downs’ planned 52 table games will more likely be going head-to-head with Atlantic City and West Virginia’s market, not Pennsylvania, from where it lures just 6 percent of its customer base, Sutor said. Stationed a lot closer in Wilmington, Delaware Park’s planned 72 table games will be competing locally with Harrah’s Chester Casino & Racetrack in Chester as well as SugarHouse, a Philadelphia casino scheduled to open this summer.

Delaware Park expects to have a poker room with 20 tables in place by late May and the remaining 52 games, a mix of craps, blackjack, roulette, mini-baccarat and carnival games like three- and four-card poker, by late June, Chief Operating Officer Andrew Gentile said.

Table games will result in Delaware’s racinos hiring an anticipated 750 employees combined, including 250-300 each at Dover Downs and Delaware Park, the bulk of which will be dealers. Hired first will be workers with experience in table gaming, whom the state’s racinos will use to teach dealer classes at Delaware Technical & Community College. Dealer classes will cost anywhere from us$ 500 to more than a us$ 1,000 and last four to 16 weeks depending on the difficulty of the game being taught, the racinos reported.

The racinos don’t anticipate any problems filling positions. Finding used gaming equipment for the dealer school could prove more challenging, Gentile said. Delaware Park must not only compete for equipment with Delaware’s racinos, but neighboring Pennsylvania, and Charleston, he said.

“Whoever can get an order done and placed first, they will be first in line to get their equipment. Some of the equipment is 12 to 14 weeks out,” Gentile said. “Right now everybody is trying to order at the same time.”

Delaware Park expects to make us$ 4 million in capital improvements to add table games and Dover Downs expects to spend us$ 4.5 million, as well as more than us$ 1 million in pre-opening expenses. “We’ll have 250 to 300 people in here upwards of a month, which is a lot of payroll, before you even have a dollar coming across the gaming table,” Sutor said.

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