Tuesday’s much-anticipated Senate vote on the legalisation of online gambling in Delaware disappointingly was deferred amid proponent’s concerns that there were not enough Democratic Party votes to get the measure through.
The vote will now take place later today (Wednesday), presumably after the political troops have been marshalled and persuaded.
Associated Press reports that HB333 is the last major piece of Governor Jack Markell-backed legislation yet to pass in the current legislative session, which ends Saturday.
Democratic Party Senate Majority Leader Patricia Blevins told AP that support for the gambling expansion was “slipping back and forth” and Democratic leaders “wanted to be certain where we stood.”
Blevins said she plans to vote for the bill but admitted to harbouring a “tremendous amount of discomfort” about the human impact of expanding gambling, whilst also being concerned about possibly job losses if the measure does not go through.
Work on an amendment to appease the state’s harness racing industry also appeared to slow the process Tuesday. The horsemen had asked that a greater share of profits from online gaming be set aside for race purses, but the Markell administration has been unwilling to support such a plan
“Members of the administration were working with senators and others on an amendment that was of concern, and while progress was made and the sponsor agreed not to run it, given the late hour Senate leadership decided the bill will be worked first on the agenda on Wednesday instead,” explained Brian Selander, spokesman for Gov Markell.
In an apparent compromise, Secretary of Finance Tom Cook indicated the administration has agreed to talk to the horsemen about a greater share of online gambling profits after the bill becomes law, based on actual revenues generated by the new offerings.
If an amendment is agreed at this stage, the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote, possible delaying and even compromising its future.