Delaware Online Poker Struggles in August as Online Gambling Heats Up

Posted on September 19th, 2016 by Alana Markoff
Delaware online poker revenue August

It’s no small wonder that Delaware online poker revenues struggled in August, as the state’s minimal population simply can’t support sufficient internet tables. (Image: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock)

Delaware online poker capped off the unofficial end of summer with a showing that truly mimicked the laziness of the dog days of summer.

The online card game pulled in just $29,155 in poker rake and fee during August, its lowest monthly total since February. The number represents a seven percent decrease compared to the same month in 2015, though the actual difference is just $2,093.

It was a more positive story for online gambling as a whole in Delaware. The market’s three racino internet gaming operators, Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway, pulled in $244,387 in net revenue. That equates to a staggering 54 percent year-on-year increase.

Though overall revenues slid from the $304,000 and $281,000 the market won in June and July respectively, August outshined its 2015 performance by more than $85,400.

As is often the case with strong casino earnings, slots were the leading reason for the surge. Over $2.8 million was wagered online on Delaware slots, resulting in a $158,874 win for the three platforms.

Compacting Problem

When Delaware legalized online gambling and internet poker in November of 2013, there were obvious concerns over whether the state could support poker in an interactive digital format.

With less than one million residents, the 45th-smallest state in terms of population, warranted fears over adequate player pools surfaced. In the market’s almost three years in business, those doubts were confirmed as Delaware poker has struggled to keep online seats filled in card rooms.

In March of 2015, Delaware and Nevada launched its interstate compact to share player liquidity. It initially provided a rake and fee boost for operators in the First State as revenue went from $27,700 in January 2015 to $48,550 in April.

But the union didn’t entice poker players in Delaware to join in online, at least for the long term. Revenues are now back to where they were before the Silver State compact, and in fact have dropped to near market lows.

According to PokerScout, Nevada and Delaware’s online poker room is averaging 150 players on its most recent seven-day average.

You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania

The obvious solution to Delaware’s online poker problem is to join forces with New Jersey. Its neighbor is currently embarking on its best iGaming year in history, and online poker is playing a pivotal role.

Internet gaming is up over 32 percent year-to-date in New Jersey, and online poker is up almost 11 percent.

New Jersey is home to over nine times as many people as there are in Delaware. And even when Delaware and Nevada’s populations are combined, the Garden State is still over 5.1 million residents ahead.

Jersey has remained hesitant to join pools with another state. Pennsylvania could render New Jersey’s strong position obsolete if the Keystone State votes to legalize internet gambling this fall as expected.

With nearly 13 million residents, Pennsylvania’s entry into online gambling would more than double the current percentage of US residents with access to internet casinos and poker.

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