More bad times for Dover Downs

 

DOVER — Dover Downs lost $184,000 in the first three months of 2017.

The company announced in an earnings release Thursday it pulled in about $44.1 million in revenue in the first quarter but still ended the quarter in the red. The revenue marks a slight decrease from the same time period last year.

Dover Downs lost $239,000 in the first three months of 2016 but concluded the year with a profit of $786,000.

President and CEO Denis McGlynn said the situation appears to have stabilized a bit but “it’s pretty clear that the environment is not very conducive for us to be very successful.”

The state’s casinos, particularly Dover Downs, the only public one among the three, have said for years they are struggling to survive in a market that has become increasingly crowded over the past decade. Neighboring states Pennsylvania and Maryland have added casinos and each now has several within two hours of Dover.

Additionally, gambling executives in Delaware have said the state’s tax rates are too high.

Two bills to provide some relief in the prior General Assembly failed, and the likelihood of legislation finding success this year is extremely unlikely due to the fiscal challenges facing the state.

Dover Downs is $24 million in debt, with the sum due back Sept. 30.

Mr. McGlynn said he believes lawmakers and Gov. John Carney are sympathetic to the casinos’ plight but acknowledged the budget shortfall is overshadowing other topics.

Dover Downs cut 72 positions in 2015, and while it currently has no plans to eliminate more spots, Mr. McGlynn said executives will “do what we have to do” if losses grow.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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