Rep. Dennis E. Williams: Casino bailout creates dangerous precedent

Recently, I spoke at the Brandywine Hundred Rotary meeting and fielded questions from business and community leaders. One of the first questions was about the $8 million bailout the state gave our three casinos. People are still confused and frustrated by this move.

When the bailout proposal came before the Bond Bill Committee in June, I was one of three to vote against it (but it passed 8-3). Ultimately, the bond bill passed both chambers unanimously because it contains vital funding for roads, schools and other infrastructure projects throughout Delaware.

But that doesn’t stop the bailout from being bad policy. When the proposal was announced, casino owners skipped over saying “thank you” and complained that $8 million wasn’t enough – before it had been approved. There are hundreds of Delaware businesses struggling in this slowly recovering economy that haven’t gotten a handout. And if they did, they wouldn’t be complaining about the amount.

Now that the casinos have gotten this money, they are right back asking for more. We have a committee of state leaders looking at other ways to help the casino industry. Where does it stop?

I understand the importance of the casino industry to our state revenues and the thousands of Delawareans they employ. But Delaware taxpayers should not open up their checkbook again to finance bad business decisions made by the casino operators. If they cannot run their businesses in a profitable manner, perhaps they should get out of the way and allow other operators in.

Dennis E. Williams

State Representative

10th District (Talleyville)