Delaware’s online poker market is never going to be particularly large, but the state would still like to see things improve from where they were in June. Not only was it the state’s worst month for Internet poker to date, but the raw numbers seemed almost comical: just $25,608 was taken in from the online poker rooms attached to the state’s three racetrack casinos.
Thankfully, it looks like the massive declines in Delaware’s poker revenues may be at an end. According to revenue figures released by the Delaware Lottery, revenues were up more than 22 percent in July, as the sites brought in a slightly better $31,398 for the month.
Small Player Base Leads to Low Expectations
Considering the small size of Delaware (the state is home to fewer than 1 million residents), nobody expects too much from the poker sites there. Poker is notorious for needing a healthy user base to thrive, as players need others to compete against, unlike in most casino games where a single player can compete against the house for as long as they like.
But even given those limitations, recent months have been highly disappointing for Delaware officials. Since online gambling sites went live in November, only one month (December 2013) saw online poker revenues rise over $100,000. They then began to fall precipitously, and after a small uptick in March, there were three more months of sharp declines.
The numbers have been particularly grim since May. That month, a new low was set when the sites took in just $57,468 from the online poker tables. Few could have guessed that the next two months wouldn’t even combine to reach that mark.
Delaware Park Attracts Most Traffic
Of the small amount of online poker being played in Delaware, the majority is happening through the Delaware Park website. They’ve taking in about 60 percent of online poker revenues, while Dover Downs pulls in about 31 percent of the Internet poker pie. The final nine percent belongs to Harrington. All three sites share player pools and use the same software, but revenues are divided based on which site players enter through.
While online poker had a slight bounce in July, it was a poor month overall for Delaware’s online gambling market. Total revenues were down about 7.6 percent in July to just over $173,000, from $187,332 in June. Those numbers could have potentially been even worse, as the overall amount wagered was down from over $8.8 million to about $5.5 million.
Of the three states currently offering online poker, Delaware has seen by far the weakest numbers. New Jersey has a population about nine times as large, but its $2,146,500 in online poker revenue was nearly 70 times what Delaware brought in during July. Nevada’s population is under three million, but the state still managed to collect over $1 million from Internet poker in June.
The numbers from Delaware and Nevada could be receiving a boost later this year. Plans are in place for the two states to share online poker player pools, though there’s no official date yet for when this partnership will begin. That agreement would initially benefit 888 Poker, which is the primary vendor for Delaware’s online poker sites.