The state of Delaware is in the midst of celebrating its 2-year anniversary of hosting online poker and gambling for real-money, reaching a milestone that WSOP.com in Nevada achieved just two months ago.
Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway opened their virtual doors to Delaware residents and tourists on November 8, 2013 in conjunction with Scientific Games, WMS Interactive, and 888 Holdings. The first two years have not been problem-free. However, there are some bright spots to be found when looking at the big picture.
In the Beginning…
A number of glitches affected online gamblers following the real-money launch, such as the ability to deposit and even to log on. But those issues improved over time, as did geolocation technology that ensures that those playing poker and casino games online are located within state borders.
Prior to launch, it was hoped that revenue totals in the first year of operation would reach $5 million. Similar to the projected estimates in the regulated states of Nevada and New Jersey, Delaware officials missed the mark by a wide margin.
The fact that The First State ranks near the bottom in the nation in terms of population with only 900,000 or so continues to show up in monthly igaming revenue totals, as those totals have averaged $156,339 in the first 23 months. The Delaware State Lottery has yet to release revenue figures for October 2015.
That average equates to a total of $3,595,802 in net revenue thus far. Not only was the $5 million projection missed in the first year, it wasn’t reached in the first two years.
Online poker revenue in Delaware hit an all-time low in September, with only $24,523 collected. On the other hand, revenue from video lottery games reached an all-time high at $93,737.
Let’s look at Delaware’s igaming regime with a glass half full attitude. More than 300 players continue to open new accounts at the three gaming sites every month. Only four of the 23 months recorded have seen less than 300 new registrants.
Delaware teamed up with WSOP.com in Nevada to share online poker player pools earlier this year. That interstate partnership agreement took effect in March, and while ipoker revenue totals have not necessarily risen as a result, the collaboration does bode well for other states to climb aboard in the future.
Remember when state officials (in all three regulated states) were worried that online poker and gambling would perhaps cannibalize the revenue of land-based casinos? That is no longer a concern, as gamblers won’t stop visiting casinos and being a part of the exciting live action just because igaming is available. In fact, studies show that the opposite may be true, that online gambling encourages players to gamble at bricks and mortar gaming establishments.
While igaming revenue has not reached the lofty initial projections in Delaware, two years in business as one of the early launchers in the state-by-state regulated igaming scheme is an accomplishment worthy of congratulations and well wishes for the future!