The three Delaware casinos operating online gaming sites have not yet profited from the Internet offerings available to players within The First State.
Delaware’s igaming statute requires that the first $3.75 million in revenue received during each and every fiscal year go to Delaware state coffers before Dover Downs, Delaware Park and Harrington Raceway get their cut. That benchmark was not reached in fiscal year no. 1, meaning that online gambling has not yet been a beneficial endeavor for the casinos.
The recent partnering with Nevada in the Multi-State Poker Network (MSPN) may improve revenue numbers slightly in the category of online poker. However, after experiencing a huge player boost following the launch of a the shared liquidity scheme with the Silver State on March 24, it appears that player traffic may not be as pronounced as originally indicated.
Small State, Big Dreams
That’s not all that surprising considering Delaware’s modest population, recently pegged at about 935,000 – good for 45th place among the 50 states.
“We can’t increase the population of Delaware,” state Lottery Director Vernon Kirk recently told delaware.newszap.com, “there are still a finite number of players.”
But what can be modified is the revenue total needed to be hit before the casinos can get their rightful share. After all, what business would continue operating when it is almost a foregone conclusion that profits are unattainable?
Delaware igaming revenue for 2014 came in at only $2.1 million. That’s not even close to the $3.75 million needed, and a partnership with Nevada and its population of 2.8 million (35th place) to combine online poker player pools will not be enough to get there.
Let’s Make a Deal
The casinos in Delaware that operate igaming may need a better deal to be worked out in order to make the effort worth their while. That would require amending the online gaming statute currently in place.
It is wholeheartedly agreed that the interstate compact is a good idea and one that will hopefully prompt other states to eventually join in the game. But it is difficult for the casinos to get excited about spending marketing dollars on promoting the new ipoker alliance with Nevada when reaching the required threshold of profitability remains so elusive under the current restraints of the igaming law.
At this time, only the regulated state of New Jersey can join the MSPN, but Kirk indicated that certain language within the Garden State’s igaming legislation is somewhat of a drawback as is currently written. Officials in that state, too, have been less than ecstatic over revenue totals.
Delaware lawmakers should be roundly applauded for enacting igaming legislation while knowing that it was a somewhat risky endeavor considering the small number of residents in the state. A re-evaluation of the revenue split between the state and its casinos seems a likely next step when factoring in the revenue generated to date and the lofty threshold needed for the casinos to call igaming a success.