Delaware online poker sites saw yet another money of falling revenues, as the three operators in the state combined to take in just $28,589 in December 2014.
The figures, released by the Delaware State Lottery, showed a 9.6 percent decrease in revenue when compared to November.
It also marked the third worst month so far for Delaware’s online poker industry since the sites launched in late 2013.
While that’s a significant drop, it may actually undersell just how much the Delaware online poker market has declined since opening just over a year ago.
The year-over-year numbers tell the full story: compared to December 2013, last month’s revenue was down 73 percent from $106,922 a year earlier, a clear sign that the market is struggling to hold on to players as liquidity diminishes.
Delaware Park is still the most successful of the three racinos that run online gambling sites in the state, taking in nearly $16,000 through Internet poker last month.
Dover Downs raked in $7,625, while Harrington Raceway collected just under $5,000 in revenue.
Overall, only gambling was down about 4.5 percent compared to November, with operators taking in a total of $169,606 last month.
Delaware’s online gambling marketplace includes both casino games and poker.
It’s hard to find positive signs for the online gambling marketplace in Delaware.
New signups are minimal, with just 256 new players opening accounts on the sites during December.
While there have never been a huge number of new signups in any given month (Delaware has a population of under one million people, limiting just how many people could potentially play on these sites), this is still far down from previous months.
If there’s one glimmer of hope for online poker in the state, it’s the fact that an interstate compact is still on the horizon with Nevada.
The three online poker sites in Delaware are all powered by 888 software, allowing them to share a single player pool (the only way even a modest poker room can be maintained in the state).
Since WSOP.com in Nevada is also powered by 888, the Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement between the two states would allow WSOP to share players with the Nevada sites, boosting traffic on both ends, but particularly for players in Delaware.
This will allow more tables to remain active in the state, perhaps attracting more players back to the sites.
All of this is happening while a state panel is trying to come up with ways to help Delaware’s struggling gambling industry.
The Lottery Gaming and Study Commission recommended a $46 million bailout package for the three casinos, a controversial decision that came only after a 5-4 vote that left several members stunned.
“This has become an annual tradition that is not sustainable,” said Valerie Longhurst, a panel member who is also the Majority Leader in the Delaware State House. “If approved, this would total more than $63.5 million to casinos in the past three years.”
Much of the money in the bailout wouldn’t actually be given to the casinos by the state, but would come in the form of tax breaks and the elimination of fees currently required to operate table games.
“We’re taking too much money,” said State Senator Brian Bushweller (D-Dover). “The simple solution is to take less money from the casino industry.”