Of the three states with online gambling offerings, Delaware has seen the most disappointing results. Sure, they were expecting to have lower numbers than Nevada and (especially) New Jersey, owing to their much smaller population. But even considering that factor, the revenues that were coming in were far below what state and casino officials had hoped for.
Nowhere were the numbers more disappointing than in online poker. While the overall online gambling figures had been increasing in recent months, Internet poker was down in January and down again in February, painting a scary picture of where the poker sites might be when the interstate compact with Nevada — which should improve both states’ poker player bases — finally goes into effect later this year.
But March saw some positive signs for Delaware’s fledgling online poker marketplace. The three poker sites in the state saw revenues climb 14 percent month-over-month, rising to a total of $84,392. That’s still a very small figure, of course, but it is a sign of life in a market some feared could be dying.
Of the three racinos in the state, Delaware Park has been the most successful online, capturing 65 percent of the online poker market. Dover Downs is second with about 25 percent, with Harrington taking in about nine percent of poker revenues.
While the figures are an improvement, they still look dismal compared to neighboring New Jersey — even after accounting for the difference in population. While New Jersey is about 10 times as populous as Delaware, it brought in around 38 times as much online poker revenue (about $3.2 million) in March. This may be due in part to the fact that Atlantic City attracts much more gambling-related tourism, but player liquidity is also a factor: a larger player pool keeps games running, in turn attracting more players, creating positive feedback for the poker rooms.
All three poker rooms use software provided by 888 Holdings, and share the same player base. However, each racetrack does its own marketing and takes in revenue based on which portal players join into the games from.
Overall, the numbers for online gambling in Delaware were quite strong in March. The total revenues for all games were up 24 percent to $206,833. Table games were the biggest winners or the state, bringing in around $95,000 in revenue. That’s a big change from back in December, when poker was responsible for about three-quarters of the revenue the sites were bringing in.
Even more impressive was the increase in the total amount wagered at online gambling sites throughout the state. Players bet $5.45 million at Delaware’s Internet casinos in March, up over 90 percent from the $2.86 million they risked in February.
One area of concern, however, comes in the area of new player signups. Just 640 new accounts were made at Delaware online gaming sites throughout the month. That’s down eight percent from February, and could suggest the growth potential for the state’s Internet gambling industry is limited.
And despite the improved numbers, it’s unlikely the state will meet its initial lofty projections. Before the sites were launched, the state projected taking in as much as $3.75 million in revenue over the first year of online gambling, a target that likely won’t be reached in 2014.