Delaware entered into the regulated online poker market amid big fanfare, despite the relatively small population site the state encompasses. But to start out 2014, Delaware saw two straight declining months in online poker revenue. According to industry sources, there’s some potential light at the end of the tunnel for the 45th most populous state in the USA, as online gaming revenue for the month of March finally showed some growth from the previous month.
March Revenues for Poker Up 14 Percent
The combined revenue from poker from all three operators in Delaware was up 14 percent in March, as compared to February. To put revenues in perspective, however, the total sum of Delaware-based online gaming revenue was just $84,392, paling in comparison to some neighboring states. For example, in New Jersey, the state was able to garner approximately 38-times the revenue during March for a $3.2 million gain. Delaware’s population is about one-tenth of New Jersey’s, meaning that there is a gap between the proportional effectiveness of the online gaming sites in Delaware as compared to New Jersey.
Current Operators in Delaware
The three race tracks in Delaware that also operate as online sites are Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and the Harrington Raceway and Casino. Currently, Delaware Park owns a huge majority share of the market at 65 percent, with Dover Downs owning 25 percent, and Harrington taking 9 percent of the state’s online poker revenue.
The good news for Delaware casinos is that the amount wagered on table games doubled for the second straight month, reaching a respectable $4.8 million wagered in March. Back in February, that figure was $2.2 million, and in January the amount of money wagered on table games was $1.1 million.
A Long Four Months
Since launching in November 2013, new player accounts have started to decline. Although there continues to be new players signing up, depositing funds, and playing online, the three operators in Delaware have noticed a significant drop-off as compared to the launch just four months ago. In fact, for the fourth consecutive month, fewer people registered for online gaming as compared to the month prior. In March, the decline in new accounts was 8 percent compared to February.
Overall, revenues from online gaming are up 24 percent in March as compared to the month previous, reaching a new all-time record of $206,833. All three casino operators have partnered with 888 to power their software and all three share liquidity while operating their own branding and marketing efforts.
A Solution on the Horizon?
Given that the state is near the bottom in terms of population and that it still does not compare to neighboring states when looking at the population-to-revenue ratio, interstate commerce for poker cannot come soon enough. Delaware and Nevada entered into a historical pact to share its player pools. This agreement has no firm date in place for activating – although some predictions have suggested this summer – with some in congress calling for all online gambling and poker to be immediately abolished.
While there might still be legal hurdles for Delaware and Nevada to jump through, a technological hurdle might also be in place. As previously mentioned, 888 powers all three Delaware-based online casinos. Currently, no poker room in Nevada is powered by the same software, making it extremely hard to fathom that competing casino-software vendors would play nice with each other to allow for a consolidated player pool.