Delaware Online Poker on a Downswing

July 4th, 2014 | by Kaycee James
Delaware, the First State, iGaming, online poker, poker revenues

Delaware’s online poker is not first in the US these days.

Delaware’s online poker decline showed no signs of stopping in May, despite an increase in player spending across the state. A recent report released by the Delaware Lottery showed that during May 2014, the combined revenue figures of three licensed online providers dropped by 22.42 percent.

In real terms, that figure meant a fall in cash flow from $74,078 to just $57,470. This $16,608 decline is yet another blow for the state’s poker players and follows the trend operators have been facing since the start of the year. In fact, after a dip in January, the revenue figures of licensed operators fell by 16 percent in February, before a slight resurgence in March. However, a 12.2 percent downswing in April has now been followed by a further slump in May, according to recent figures.

Wagers Up, Revenues Down

On a day-to-day basis, the numbers are even more disheartening, with average daily revenue figures dropping 24 percent, from $2,469 to $1,853. Despite the continued downswing experienced by operators, the amount of money players are wagering on table games actually hit a record high in May. However, of the $9,026,528 wagered, the revenue from these games was only $72,537, which shows a 47 percent decline, compared to April’s $137,203 level.

Quite why the level of revenue across the state’s iGaming sector has continued to decline is a hot topic amongst interested parties, but a 15.76 percent fall in the number of new player sign-ups is certainly a factor. Throughout May, a total of 342 new online accounts were created, which would suggest operators aren’t currently doing enough to attract new players.

Delaware’s Ray of Light

While the current situation in Delaware could certainly be described as bleak, the First State can take some comfort from the fact that the online poker community usually experiences a lull during the summer months. In between vacations, pleasant weather and large live tournaments such as the World Series of Poker, players are less inclined to grind from the comfort of their computer.

Another silver lining on Delaware’s virtual horizon is that a proposed liquidity sharing deal between 888’s operations in Delaware and Nevada may help boost the number of active poker players. Although 888 is used to being in Nevada, there’s a strong belief that the company, which now boasts the second-largest poker network in the world, right behind PokerStars, will be live in the state within the next few months. Once this happens, it could pave the way for a joint venture between Delaware and Nevada, which would not only give players in each state access to more competition, but help increase an interest in iGaming across the US.

If the process of liquidity-sharing becomes a common factor across regulated states, it could also mean an upswing, not only in Delaware’s fortunes, but for the US poker economy as a whole.

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