Delaware rolls out table games
Monday, May 24th, 2010
A new era of gambling is underway in Delaware.
For four days this week, the smallest of the state’s three casinos is testing table games like black jack, craps and poker in front of live crowds.
The low-limit ($25 maximum bets) games began Monday at busy Harrington Raceway & Casino and will continue through Thursday (2 to 10 p.m.). It is the final step before the casino officially rolls out table games Friday for the start of the Memorial Day weekend.
Even though it is a training run, the roars from the craps tables — and the money — are real. And as Harrington CEO Patti Key will tell you, history is being made.
“We’re extremely excited to have this happening on our property, being the first in the state of Delaware,” she said.
The so-called “soft” opening gives everyone a chance to work out the kinks and lets state lottery officials know the casino is ready.
“We’re ready,” Key said. “We still have a few snafus we’re hitting, but that’s what this trial time’s for. Overall I think we’re doing very well as far as getting things up and running.”
Table games are seen as an edge for Delaware casinos competing against neighboring states like Maryland, where there are no table games, and Pennsylvania, where table games are scheduled to begin later in the summer. Last Friday on WHYY’s First we outlined how these other gambling locations will impact on the casino monopoly Delaware has enjoyed to date.
“It gives us a full complement,” Key said. “Between the sports book, simulcasting, the poker rooms, table games, slots — we’re like a full-fledged casino now.”
And Key says it brings in a whole new player base.
Folks like Tony Squires of Maryland, a self-proclaimed “big fan” of table games who rarely plays slots.
“I’m from Maryland and this is the first time we’ve had table games within close reach of where I live,” he said. “Now that they’re in Harrington, Dover and Delaware Park they’re a lot closer.”
Table games are expected to boost earnings for the state as well as the casinos. Officials estimate Delaware will net about $40 million in addition revenue in the first year.
It also means hundreds of new jobs, including about 300 in Harrington.
“Our goal was to be the first in the First State to have table games,” Key said. “So we’ve done well.”