DE Online Poker Notches Full Quarter Of Growth
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Delaware Online Poker Revenue Climbs For Third Consecutive Month

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According to the most recent revenue figures released by the Delaware Lottery, Delaware’s online poker industry is in the midst of a rare period of extended growth.

Collectively, the state’s three poker sites brought in $48,552 in April, marking the third consecutive month in which the oft-forgotten industry grew.

Delaware iPoker revenue by the numbers

Online poker revenue increased 11% in April, decidedly less than the 25% and 26% gains posted in February and March, yet still an impressive margin, especially considering the havoc this year’s seasonal downtrend is wreaking on online poker traffic.

Source: delottery.com

Source: delottery.com

Delaware Park continued to capture the lion’s share of the market, accounting for 71% of the industry’s poker rake and fees. But at 36% growth, it was Dover Downs that posted the largest monthly gains.

Harrington Raceway & Casino was the industry’s sole loser, dropping 22% to $3,286.

Despite the recent uptrend, year-over-year revenue was down nearly 35%.

Expect the gap to narrow in May, if not be completely eradicated, as by this time last year the novelty of the nascent industry has almost completely petered out.

What’s suddenly so different now?

Not once from June 2014 to January 2015 did Delaware online poker generate more than $40,000, and as of early-2015, there was little reason to believe revenue would ever again eclipse the six-figure win registered in December 2013, during the industry’s first full month.

Then the Multi-State Poker Network (MSPN), pooling players from regulated sites in Nevada and Delaware, went live.

The impact of the compact on liquidity was not overly dramatic – PokerScout.com has combined 7-day cash game averages climbing only 9% since March 26 – however, it opened several doors for Delaware online poker players:

  • Longer liquidity peaks: Due to the three hour time difference between Delaware and Nevada, Delaware players can presumably find games during what are traditionally known as off-peak hours (12 – 3 am). Longer peaks equate to longer sessions, and by extension, more paid rake.
  • “Round the clock” action: Along the same lines, its not inconceivable for Delaware players to log-in at any time of the day and find their preferred game format and stake running.
  • Bigger tournament guarantees: There are more than three dozen daily tournaments running on WSOP.com in Nevada, some of which boost four and five digit guarantees. In order to participate, Delaware players must pay higher entry fees, on average, than they did pre-merge.

So while there aren’t too many new players (only 210 new iGaming accounts were created last month), all of this leads me to believe that the average value of Delaware players has increased appreciably.

Online casino revenue takes a dive

On a sour note, Delaware’s online casinos only generated $83,575 for April, down 19% for the month.

Table games saw virtually no action, accounting for only $15,563 of the take, or less than a third of the house’s winnings for March.

Volatility of this magnitude is common in small markets, and hardly cause for concern. In the absence of a major jackpot being hit, it’s conceivable that a couple of the industry’s high-rollers simply took the month off.

Predictions for May and beyond

It’s difficult to say with certainty whether May will be another growth month for Delaware online poker.

A few variables worth noting:

  • Cash game liquidity on the MSPN is enjoying a surge thanks to the start of the WSOP. Although the live Series will have a much greater impact in Nevada than in Delaware, the increased liquidity should draw a couple of Delaware players out of the woodwork.
  • May is one day longer than April.
  • With increased growth comes increased word-of-mouth advertising by players, which should have a compounding impact.

Together, these factors lead me to believe that online poker revenue will hold relatively steady.

In June, expect the industry to boast its first year-over-year win, not so much because Delaware poker will thrive (even though, with the live WSOP in full effect, it probably will), but because June 2014 was the most miserable month in the market’s short history.

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Robert DellaFave
- Robert DellaFave is a game designer and avid poker player. He writes for several publications centered on legal US online poker and the regulated online gambling industries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.