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The figures are good, but not unprecedented. The March 2015 figure was $43,636, so the market has fallen by 14.5 percent in a year. Nevertheless, the revenues are higher than any month since May last year.
The market is made up of three licensees, Dover Downs, Harrington and Delaware Park. The racinos have all been disappointed by online poker revenues since Delaware first launched state-regulated online gambling in November 2013.
Last month, Delaware Park produced the best revenues at $20,447, but Dover Downs saw the largest percentage increase. Its revenues of $15,527 were more than twice as high as its February figures.
Harrington’s revenues of $1,350 were extremely poor. They are the lowest online poker revenues it has recorded since it began to offer online poker. Its best monthly revenues have never breached the $5,000 mark, and it is not far off the time when the racino may decide to reconsider whether or not to stay in the market.
The key problem with the Delaware market was thought to be its low level of liquidity. However, the interstate compact with Nevada has now given Delaware players a much wider selection of games and tables, especially at peak hours.
The compact introduced shared liquidity between the two states in March, 2015. There were expectations that the change would provide a surge of new players in Delaware, but this has simply not happened.
Online poker participation rates in Delaware before the compact with Nevada were among the lowest in the world. Simply bringing participation up to the level of the Nevada or New Jersey online poker market would have increased revenues by five to ten times, but the additional liquidity has not produced the expected effect.
The relatively low revenue numbers reported by the Delaware Lottery give a clue to the reasons why. Even if participation rates increased substantially, the top line revenue figures would still be low compared to the racinos’ other business lines.
Total monthly revenues for all regulated online gambling in Delaware were $260,539 for March. Online poker revenues are only 14.3 percent of that total. Not only is poker less popular than the other gambling games, the absolute amounts of revenue don’t justify large marketing expenditures.
In a state of around one million people, it looks like there simply isn’t enough money to be made to make it worth spending the amounts necessary to entice more players to the game.
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