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History


1967 - 1969
Dover Downs, Inc. is incorporated in 1967 and begins motorsports and harness racing operations in 1969.  The one-of-a-kind facility was conceived as a unique dual-purpose complex and designed to accommodate wintertime horse racing and major league motorsports operations.  Dover Downs is built from the ground up and includes a 5/8-mile horse race track surrounded by a one-mile, high-banked asphalt track.  Today, the site remains the only race track facility to offer a harness track and a NASCAR® track.

July 6, 1969
The first motorsports event at Dover Downs’ motor speedway - a NASCAR Grand National Series (now Sprint Cup Series) race called the Mason-Dixon 300 - is held, and Richard Petty, one of the all-time great racers in the sport, wins the race.

November 19, 1969
The first harness card takes place.

1969 – 1974
A thoroughbred meet is held each spring in addition to the wintertime harness meets, which continue today.

February 4, 1973
Dover Downs harness racing posts an all-time record for attendance (5,971) and on-track handle ($515,177).

1970s
The influence of extended racing competition from surrounding states, primarily the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Atlantic City casinos and state lotteries in Delaware and Pennsylvania, takes its toll on the horse racing industry in Delaware.

May 31, 1994
The Delaware General Assembly passes legislation authorizing slot machines at pari-mutuel horse racing facilities.  The Delaware Horse Racing Redevelopment Act is passed to revitalize the horse racing industry in Delaware, granting the state’s three horse tracks the right to install 500 slot machines.  Dover Downs retains Caesars World Gaming Development Corporation to help design and build the Las Vegas style video lottery casino. 

December 13, 1995
Dover Downs, Inc. receives authorization to conduct video lottery operations as a “Licensed Agent” under the Delaware State Lottery Code.

December 29, 1995
The casino known as Dover Downs Slots, a state-of-the-art gaming facility, officially opens its doors with 500 video lottery (slot) machines under the supervision of the Delaware State Lottery. Proceeds from slots revenues are split among the state, horseracing purses and the track. 

1996
Dover Downs Entertainment, Inc., parent company of all Dover Downs activities, begins trading on New York Stock Exchange under symbol “DVD.”

1998
Dover Downs Slots undergoes its first of four casino expansions to increase slot machines in increments of 500.

December 2001
Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. is incorporated in the State as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE-Symbol: DVD).

March 31, 2002
DVD completes a tax-free spin-off of its gaming operations. Immediately following the spin-off, Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. becomes an independent public company.

April 1, 2002
Dover Downs’ name officially changes to Dover Motorsports, Inc.  The gaming and entertainment part of the operation splits away from motorsports, thus Dover Downs essentially becomes two separate, publicly traded companies.  Harness racing, slots, various entertainment and the newly built hotel known as Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center falls under the umbrella of Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE-Symbol: DDE).  Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE-Symbol: DVD) oversees Dover International Speedway events and its other motorsports venues including Nashville Superspeedway, Memphis Motorsports Park and Gateway International Raceway (St. Louis).

April 2002
Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center opens with 232 rooms, indoor pool, sauna, fitness center, 18,000 square-foot Rollins Center® ballroom, and Michele’s gourmet restaurant.  (Michele’s was named after Mrs. John Rollins, Sr.)  Additional construction includes building a 425-seat buffet restaurant and renovating the enclosed harness racing grandstand with a state-of-the-art simulcast facility.

November 27, 2002
Delaware’s Clean Indoor Air Act becomes law, and the casino subsequently goes 100% smoke free.

2003
Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center receives the first of many consecutive AAA Four Diamond Awards.  The News Journal recognizes Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. and Dover Motorsports, Inc. as No. 1 in “Community Involvement” for the first of several years.

May 30, 2003
A committee created by the Delaware House of Representatives issues a favorable assessment as to the merits of conducting sports wagering in the State through its video lottery agents.  The Committee concludes that sports gaming is feasible in the State, outlines proposed structures for its implementation, and provides various financial projections.  Enabling legislation would need to be passed by the Delaware General Assembly to establish sports gaming operations.

First Qtr 2004
Dover Downs Slots constructs 11,000 sq. ft. of additional casino space – called The Promenade and The Terrace Lounge - within its existing casino complex and installs 500 machines raising the number of slot machines to 2,500, the maximum allowable by Delaware law. 

December 28, 2005
The management agreement with Caesars World Gaming Development Corporation expires and is not renewed.

January 1, 2006
Dover Downs Slots and Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center change their names to merge as one identifiable property under the name Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.

January 2006
State law is enacted to increase the number of slot machines allowable at the three licensed Delaware racinos from 2,500 to 4,000.  Legislation also allows casinos to expand operating hours to 24 hours a day (closing only on Sunday mornings from 6 a.m. to noon, Easter and Christmas).

March 30, 2006
Company announces its $52 million Phase II hotel expansion project to open by October 2007.

April 2006
In its annually published “Best in the Business” Report, The News Journal names Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. and Dover Motorsports, Inc. “Best Place to Work” and “Overall Company to Watch.”

May 1, 2006
Ground breaks on the $52 million Phase II hotel expansion project to add 191,500 sq. ft. of hotel space, 268 additional rooms including 44 luxury suites and 11 spa suites, and a 6,000-sq.-ft. full-service spa - projected for completion in October 2007.
 
June 3, 2006
Jackpot hits for $375,179.81 on a Wheel of Fortune Progressive machine.

June 30, 2006
4,000 sq. ft. of existing space on the fourth floor is converted to "Trackview Slots" with 200 additional slot machines, bringing the total number of slots to more than 2,700.

July 2006
Ca$hola™, the first multistate progressive in the United States, is launched at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, linking approved racinos in Delaware, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

September 2006
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino files its Phase VI casino expansion plan with the Dover Planning Commission to add 75,000 sq. ft. to the main floor casino for additional slots, restaurants, casino lounge, retail shops and office space - projected for completion in summer 2008.

September 2006
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is named “Best of the East” by Meetings East Magazine – and judged to be Delaware’s premier meeting destination from votes cast by 22,000 meeting planning professionals.

March 30, 2007
T
he Company confirms plans for its Phase VI casino expansion project to add 68,000 sq. ft. to the casino at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.

May 2007
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino breaks ground on a $56 million "Phase VI" expansion project to add a new main casino entrance, a 20,000-sq.-ft gaming floor with 500 additional slot machines, Fire & Ice at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino (a casino lounge with seating for 200), three branded restaurants, retail shops and a gourmet coffee cafe.  The project is forecasted for completion by fall 2008.

July 2007
A Dover, Del., woman hits the Ca$hola™ multistate progressive jackpot for $318,770.55.

September 2007
The hotel opens 268 new rooms, officially classifying Dover Downs Hotel & Casino as the largest hotel in Delaware with 500 rooms.  Michele’s reopens after a planned three-month remodel.

September 17, 2007
Dover Planning Commission unanimously approves a conceptual master plan submitted by Dover Downs Hotel & Casino including a parking garage, increased video lottery complex, addition of new horse paddock, expansion of the Rollins Center and the addition of a 500-room hotel tower.

November 6, 2007
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino announces that Dave Magrogan Group, owners of Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House and Kildare’s Irish Pubs in Pennsylvania, signed a lease to operate a Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House within The Colonnade.

December 29, 2007
Toppers Spa/Salon Dover Downs Hotel & Casino opens for business.

February 28, 2008
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino announces that Áreas USA, an international retail services company, will open four shops within 3,500 sq. ft. of The Colonnade, including Godiva Chocolatier, Swarovski Crystal, Fashions of The Colonnade, and The Colonnade Marketplace.
 
March 2008
Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc. receives the “Economic Development Leadership Act” from the Central Delaware Economic Development Council.

March 4, 2008
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino announces that Guinness World Records certified the world’s largest crab cake to be that which was presented - in conjunction with Handy International, Inc. of Crisfield, MD, at the inaugural Diamond State BBQ Championship held at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino on October 21, 2006.

April 15, 2008
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is announced as a winner of the Delaware Today 2008 Best of Delaware Awards for "Best Wine List Downstate" and "Best Restaurant Makeover Downstate" for Michele's restaurant.

May 2, 2008
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is recognized for excellence by The Horizon Interactive Awards, a leading international interactive media awards competition, with a Silver award in the Self Promotion/Corporate Identity category and a Bronze award in the video category.

July 2008
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is awarded 22 Best of Gaming honors by the readers of Casino Player magazine, the nation’s leading consumer gaming magazine.  Dover Downs Hotel & Casino received nine first-place wins including best overall hotel casino, best hotel, best suites, best rooms, best race/sportsbook, best comps, best hosts, best overall entertainment and best gourmet for Michele’s restaurant.

July 6, 2008
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino begins 24-hour casino gaming operations to include Sunday mornings as approved by the State on July 1.

July 12, 2008
The Colonnade casino expansion opens to the public.  Highlights include nearly 500 additional slot machines, Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House, a casino lounge called Fire & Ice at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, Sweet PerksToo gourmet coffee café, Fashions of The Colonnade designer merchandise shop, The Colonnade Marketplace logo store, Swarovski, and Godiva.

July 25, 2008
A Laurel, Md., man wins a whopping $1,034,190.88 on the multistate progressive game, Ca$hola™.  The jackpot is the largest ever for Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and the then largest Ca$hola jackpot in Delaware history.

October 2008
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is named “Best of the East” by Meetings East Magazine – and judged to be a Delaware premier meeting destination from votes cast by 22,000 meeting planning professionals.

May 14, 2009

House Bill 100 (Sports Betting) legalizing sports wagering at Delaware casinos is signed in to law by Gov. Jack Markell.

August 21, 2009

Exclusive Capital Elite® Member Program for top-tier players is officially rolled out.

September 1, 2009
Frankie's Italian restaurant opens in The Colonnade.

September 10, 2009
The Race & Sports Book, opened on September 3 in The Colonnade, accepts the first parlay wager on a professional football game.

January 28, 2010
Gov. Jack Markell signs the Table Games Bill (House Bill 310), legalizing table games in Delaware.

June 25, 2010
Table Games open with the first roll of the dice.

July 14, 2010
The Crown Royal® Poker Room officially opens at noon.

January 10, 2011
Trackview Slots closes.  Waterfall Bar closes.

May 2011 
Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., enters into a strategic cross-marketing alliance with Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International to allow select members of each company’s loyalty program to redeem rewards, enjoy privileges and experience the amenities at the partners’ properties.  MGM Resorts provides qualified Dover Downs Hotel & Casino’s Capital Club® loyalty members with special access to rooms, shows, attractions, spas and nightlife venues across its portfolio of award-winning resorts in Las Vegas, Detroit and Michigan.  Dover Downs Hotel & Casino offers MGM Resorts M life members the benefits of AAA Four Diamond hotel accommodations, exciting live sports and entertainment, and fine dining.

May 15, 2011
Record $4.8 million jackpot won at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.  Bert Dickerson of Fairfax, VA, becomes an instant millionaire, winning a whopping $4,856,978.35 on the multistate progressive game, Ca$hola™.  The jackpot is the largest ever in the State of Delaware and the second largest Ca$hola jackpot to hit since its inception in July 2006.  The jackpot is the 37th and final Grand Prize Ca$hola jackpot, as the game ends its five-year run after paying over $52 million total in annuity jackpot prizes.

October 2011
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino pioneers East Coast organic waste disposal.  Dover Downs Hotel & Casino announces the next phase of its sustainability program, providing for the sorting of recyclable and nonrecyclable materials (of approximately 192 tons annually), reducing its impact on the Dover landfill be an estimated one-third.  The company also recently completes the first step of the Green Concierge Certification program, developed by Hospitality Green, N.Y., which provides third-party audit performance-based improvements.

May 2012
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino announces website redesign.  With the redesign of its website, www.doverdowns.com, users are able to update personal information including address, phone number and email address under the My Account page and view their calendar offers in a visually dynamic way.  In addition, every page on the website is accessible via a mobile device.  The lower bandwidth for the new site design was achieved by utilizing all advanced technology enhancements, including parrallaxing, a no-flash, illustrative feature important for providing visitors with a dynamic visual presentation of the award-winning property.

May 25, 2012
The Festival Buffet completes a comprehensive overhaul with a redesigned interior and an expanded list of menu items including a fresh, raw seafood bar, made-to-order action stations, a grill station and more.  The renovation gives customers more choices and selections, from the freedom and immediacy of a self-serve buffet to custom desserts and grilled items, all in a fresh, remodeled environment.  New options include freshly plated entrees prepared to order, an expanded noodle bar with wok option for individual stir-fry, fresh seafood selections, grill-to-order options, and an expanded dessert station featuring Bananas Foster and Cherries Jubilee.  It is the first complete renovation for the buffet since opening in April 2002.

August 2012
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino partners with Orlando-based social enterprise, Clean The World, to collect and recycle hotel soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and gels to help fight the global spread of preventable diseases.  The soaps collected by Dover Downs Hotel & Casino are shipped to Clean The World for recycling and distribution to communities and countries in greatest need through the efforts of Clean The World Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

January 22, 2013
Keno goes live at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.  Keno, a bingo-style game presented by the Delaware Lottery, is offered at betting terminals in The Festival Buffet, Gazebo Bar and Terrace Bar.  Winners are chosen at regular, four-minute intervals, and winning is based on matching some, all, or even none of the numbers.  Keno Bonus, an optional bonus feature, gives players the chance to multiply winnings up to 10 times the original amount.  Players can win up to $100,000 per Keno drawing, or as high as $1 million with Keno Bonus.  Delaware is the 14th state to offer Keno, a result of the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 (House Bill 333) being signed into law in June 2012, which expanded the State’s Keno, sports lottery and internet gaming offerings.

June 17, 2013
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino accepts the Silver Tier Certification Green Concierge (GC) award from HospitalityGreen, LLC, N.Y.  The GC Ceritification works with tourism and lodging facilities throughout the U.S. to help improve their economic viability and sustainability business practices without compromising service delivery or customer satisfaction.  There are 114 facilities in the U.S. currently participating in the GC certification program.  Twenty-three of the properties have received Bronze level recognition.  Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is the first casino on the East Coast to have pioneered the GC program and the first and only company nationwide to have met the program standards for Silver Tier.  The Company has already instituted steps and policies to achieve Gold Tier status.

August 28, 2013
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino is first in Delaware to launch DoubleDown Casino online gaming platform for free game play online at doverdowns.com.  Play for money online gaming will be launched by Delaware State Lottery on October 31, 2013, and available at doverdowns.com.


Today

  • AAA Four Diamond Hotel, the largest in Delaware with 500 rooms
  • Top-tier harness racing purses.  Live racing November - April
  • Table games consisting of blackjack, roulette, craps, bacarrat and others, plus daily Texas hold'em poker tournaments
  • More than 2,300 video lottery (slot) machines
  • 13 bars/restaurants
  • Award-winning Toppers Spa/Salon
  • Live headline entertainment, boxing, and annual festivals
  • Race & Sports Book offering parlay professional football wagering
  • 1,500 employees (DDE), 150 employees (DMI)


Awards

  • AAA Four Diamond Award 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
  • Casino Player  magazine’s Best of Gaming Award 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Strictly Slots  magazine’s Best of Gaming Award 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Delaware Lottery’s Customer Survey Report top overall scorer 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
  • Meetings East Magazine  Best of the East Award 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
  • Smart Meetings Platinum Choice Award 2011
  • Horizon Award for Website Redesign - Silver Award in the "Self Promotion/Company Identity" category at the 2008 Horizon Interactive Awards, 2008
  • Trane Energy Efficiency / High Performance Building Award to Dover Downs Hotel & Casino to recognize their commitment to environmental stewardship in the community, 2009
  • State of Delaware Office of Highway Safety HERO Award presented to Dover Downs Hotel & Casino for dedication and excellence in implementing successful programs in 2007 – 2008 that help save lives and prevent injuries by promoting highway safety, presented September 12, 2008.  Dover Downs Hotel & Casino adopted the HERO Campaign in 2006 at each of its food and beverage outlets.
  • The News Journal  Best in The Business 2009
  • The News Journal  Top Workplaces 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Dover Post First State Favorites
    • 2010 – Best Getaway in Kent County (Dover Downs Hotel & Casino)
    • 2010 – Best Dance Club (Fire & Ice at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino)
  • Delaware Today Best of Delaware
    • 2008 – Best Wine List (Michele’s)
    • 2008 – Best Restaurant Makeover (Michele’s)
    • 2009 – Best Place to Treat Yourself (Michele’s)
    • 2009 – Best Sunday Brunch (Michele’s)
    • 2010 – Best Music, Midstate (Dover Downs Hotel & Casino)
    • 2010 – Best Nightspot, Midstate (Fire & Ice at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino)
    • 2010 – Best Restaurant in Dover (Michele’s)
    • 2010 – Best Neighborhood Place (Frankie’s)
    • 2011 – Best Sushi in Dover (Michele’s)
    • 2011 – Best Family Style Restaurant (Frankie’s)
    • 2012 – Best Restaurant Variety (Dover Downs Hotel & Casino)
    • 2013 – Best Sunday Brunch (Michele’s)
  • Forbes Most Trustworthy Companies Distinction 2010
  • TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2013
  • HospitalityGreen – Green Concierge Silver Certification 2013
  • Autism Delaware Noel Perry Smith Award for Outstanding Employer 2013
  • Delaware Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Above & Beyond Award 2013

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