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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
It’s difficult to say with certainty whether May will be another growth month for Delaware online poker.
A few variables worth noting:
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.