Delaware Online Gambling Numbers: The Good, The Bad, The Takeaways

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Delaware’s initial round of revenue numbers for regulated online gambling were released this week. And, as was the case with neighboring New Jersey, the early results are something of a mixed bag.

A snapshot of November and December results

Below are the overall numbers for November and December. All told, the market generated just over $250,000 in total revenue for the first seven weeks of operation.

Delaware online gambling revenue

A few important notes:

Revenue by property numbers are included at the end of this article.

The good: Poker shows growth

Even when you account for the missing week in November, poker revenue still showed month-over-month growth of about 8%.

That’s no mean feat, especially with registrations dropping (more on that below) and network liquidity at dangerously low levels.

Two months does not a trend make. And December’s growth could be primarily a reflection of some basic technical issues (especially geolocation) being mitigated or resolved. But it’s certainly better than movement in the other direction.

Table game and video lottery turnover were basically flat month-over-month once you factor in November’s missing week.

The bad: Registrations plummet

It’s certainly reasonable to expect a spate of registrations at launch and a drop off from there. But Delaware saw registrations fall by just about 50% from November to December – and that’s with December getting the extra week.

By way of contrast, New Jersey saw a drop off of closer to 25% when you compare their first three weeks of operation to the following three weeks (I’d compare month-to-month for NJ but there’s only seven weeks of data available).

The takeaways

Market or growth will remain elusive

Comparing the amount of marketing and promotion done in New Jersey to the amount done in Delaware is like comparing the Grand Canyon to something that is not a hole.

Online gambling is barely mentioned on the Delaware Lottery’s homepage, tucked under an “iGaming” tab that might not mean anything to the typical consumer.

It fares only slightly better on the websites of the casinos that actually offer the product.

Only Harrington gives online gambling dedicated homepage exposure. Delaware Park does promote online poker and casino play in the main slider on their front page, but not until slide 3 – which you’d have to stay on the homepage some 30 seconds to see.

And DoverDowns devotes only two tiny sub-menu tabs and a block of text down at the bottom of the page to their online gambling product.

While operators in New Jersey are competing to corner every eligible visitor on mainstream and gambling media sites, I have heard literally nothing – directly or secondhand – from operators in Delaware looking to promote their product.

There is demand in Delaware for online gambling

Even given:

  • The numerous technical problems that plagued launch.
  • The low levels of poker liquidity.
  • The ongoing issues with geolocation and depositing.
  • The near-complete lack of marketing.
  • The tepid promotions; and
  • The general absence of media coverage

… Delaware’s online gambling sites still managed to hit a projected annual average revenue per user of close to $500.

There is a demand for these products in the state. Now operators need to do more to nurture and expand that demand through the deployment of a more stable, robust product, better marketing and educational campaigns.

Revenue breakdown by property

Revenue breakdown by property for Delaware online gambling

All revenue numbers via the DE Lottery.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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