Gambling on ‘sin taxes’

In her 4/12 “Forum” essay [“Don’t back wrong horse in casino game”], Ms. Hotte appears to have had some trouble understanding my reference to a “sin-tax” in my previous letter. [“It is no longer a sin …” April 2] I would like to clarify my thoughts, as the term I used seems to be confused with religion and not the state’s rules back when we had “blue laws.”

When casino gambling was first allowed (it had previously been prohibited), the concession to allow it was twofold: a heavier-than-normal tax was imposed and an additional levy was extracted for the horsemen’s business. I believe that was because the gambling on horses would be negatively impacted by the casinos cutting into horseracing’s customer base.

There may have been some logic in that assumption. Today, however, the horsemen have become dependent on that “tax,” and at the same time, electronic betting on horseracing has gone worldwide. However, the casinos in Delaware are the only party being asked to support them. That is not fair, and particularly when the horseracing businesses do little or nothing to promote their own business.

Ms. Hotte pointed out that the vacant businesses along U.S. 13 and the vacant business-zoned lots are a result of the economic problems in the ’07/’08 period. I agree, but my referring to them was to allow us to see what another major closed business would look like: like a boarded-up casino and hotel.

Above, I referred to a heavier-than-normal tax being imposed on the casinos, and, I submit, that is the problem. It is posing the greatest risk to the otherwise-profitable business. Normalizing the tax rate on casinos, like is done with other businesses, is a smart idea which will help support many jobs, a continuing tax source (although not overburdening), as well as helping customer traffic to neighboring businesses.

Ms. Hotte also suggested I spend time learning about geriatric health care in order to get a job for the next 20 years. At 77, am I too late for that?

Peter Couming

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