When the World Series of Poker was in full swing last month, it would have been easy to think that America’s online poker marketplace was booming. All eyes were on Nevada, where a flood of serious poker players were set to continue the momentum the state’s poker sites first started building in May. But of course, Nevada isn’t the whole story, and other states have had a different experience this summer.
The state of Delaware saw online poker revenues drop by 55 percent month-over-month in June, an unprecedented drop that left revenues at their lowest point since the sites first launched last November. The dip, which comes after the previous low of $57,470 in revenue brought in during May, took the monthly total down to a paltry $25,607.
Small Population, Smaller Player Pool
The raw numbers have always looked bad in Delaware. With the state’s small population, it was always going to be difficult to maintain an active poker room, even with all three of the racinos in the state feeding into the same player pool. But the large drop could signal that the state’s player pool has dropped below a key threshold, and that the poker sites could struggle to maintain a critical mass of players necessary to keep games going.
Of course, there are seasonal reasons for the drop as well. We’ve already mentioned the World Series of Poker, which likely drew some of the state’s high volume players away to Nevada for at least part of the month. And summer is always a slower period for Internet poker, both in the United States and worldwide. But the extent of the drop is still concerning, especially if the trend can’t be reversed in the coming months.
Overall, Delaware Park continues to fare the best of the three state race tracks, claiming about 62 percent of all online poker revenues. Dover Downs has about 30 percent of Internet poker traffic, while Harrington claims the remaining eight percent. All three tracks share players, but receive revenues based on which track’s site players join the online poker room through.
It’s clear that Delaware needs an influx of poker players, and since the state’s population isn’t likely to provide them, they’ll need to come from an outside source. The state’s compact with Nevada could help provide some relief: though it is unclear when exactly the states will start sharing player pools, the merger is expected to happen sometime this year, with 888 Poker being the primary beneficiary.
Overall Internet Gaming Numbers Up for State
While online poker is struggling in Delaware, the overall Internet gambling numbers were actually up for the state in June. Despite a 16 percent drop in table game wagering, the overall revenues for the state’s online gambling sites were up to $187,944, up about 7 percent compared to May.
There are also positive signs for future growth as well. A total of 399 new accounts were created at Delaware’s gambling sites in June. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s up from 342 in May, and represents the first increase since November.
Of the three states that regulate online gambling, Delaware easily takes in the least money from the industry. New Jersey collected $9.5 million (including $2 million from poker) in June, while Nevada, which only regulates online poker, took in $862,000 in May.