Liquidity Sharing Imperative as Online Poker in Delaware Declines in 2017

January 19th, 2018 | by Jason Reynolds

Online poker in Delaware has taken a tumble in 2017 according to the latest figures from the state’s regulator, the Delaware Lottery.

Delaware Online Poker

Online poker in Delaware takes a hit in 2017, showing that liquidity sharing is now needed more than ever. (Image: gurufocus.com)

Looking back on the last 12 months of activity, the market as a whole contracted by 18 percent. For the state’s license holders, Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway, December saw poker’s year-on-year rake drop just $18,261.

Looking specifically at Delaware Park, the state’s largest iGaming operator, poker revenue followed a similar pattern with year-on-year earnings falling by 38 percent to $10,423 in December.

In contrast to poker, video lottery stakes improved by 59 percent at Delaware part and 11 percent at Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway.

Lack of Players Leads to Revenue Decline

This drop in poker revenue is largely due to a lack of new players. Reviewing the year in full, the number of sign-ups was 2,918, which equates to just 0.003 percent of Delaware’s total population.

With registrations starting to wane and players opting to bet on table games and video lottery products, poker has struggled to gain any traction. In fact, even though Delaware has traditionally been one of the smaller regulated markets, 2017 was its worst year for online poker.

When the game first went live in Delaware, annual poker rake and fees totaled $595,580. One year later that figure had dropped to $392,401 before sinking again to $375,936 and then $231,086 in 2017.

Liquidity Sharing Needed More than Ever

Despite the market’s continued decline, hope is on the horizon thanks to a liquidity sharing pact with New Jersey and Nevada. The initial agreement was signed in October 2017, which means the states are now working to create the technical standards operators will have to conform to in order to share players.

While a definite date hasn’t been set, a similar deal in Europe took around six months to come to fruition. When France, Italy, Spain and Portugal agreed to a liquidity sharing pact in July 2017, a working system between France and Spain wasn’t in place until mid-January 2018.

By this timeline, we could expect to see the states start to merge in April. Although the new system won’t automatically guarantee Delaware’s poker profits soar, it should open up its licensed platforms to a much larger pool of potential new players. This, in turn, should help rake across the board.

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