DE gambling sites win $850k in April

Don’t Disregard Delaware; April Online Gambling Revenue Soars In Smallest US Market

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While most aspects of the national economy struggle under the shutdown orders brought about by COVID-19, online gaming is flourishing like never before.

Delaware is no exception. Online gambling sites in the state won $856,182 in April. Their biggest haul in any month dates back to launch in 2014. Prior to March, that number had seemingly plateaued shy of $400,000.

While its population of around a million residents makes Delaware the smallest US online gambling market, net proceeds have suddenly more than doubled over the past two months.

DE online gambling growth across the board

Delaware gambling sites offer games in all three major categories.

Video slots bring in the most revenue, followed by online table games and then online poker. The latter remains a niche product that generates negligible revenue despite the fact that Delaware shares a player pool with Nevada and New Jersey.

All three products have seen increased activity during the shutdown.

April net proceeds (monthly change / annual change)

  • Slots: $591,442 (+85% / +251%)
  • Tables: $180,706 (+31% / +151%)
  • Poker: $84,034 (+46% / +276%)

Net proceeds by operator

As with New Jersey and most other states with modernized gambling, Delaware’s sites operate through its land-based casinos. There are three of them, all of which began as racing facilities before updated laws allowed them to branch out into other forms of gambling.

All three have seen a similar increase in their video slots and poker revenue. Dover Downs; however, saw a much larger increase in online table games to nudge it into the top overall spot in the market. Though the two have traded places a few times, Dover Downs has generally placed second in monthly online revenue behind Delaware Park.

Harrington Raceway and Casino is the smallest of the three, but it’s producing the sharpest growth.

April net proceeds (monthly change / annual change)

  • Dover Downs: $341,473 (+60% / +353%)
  • Delaware Park: $309,034 (+73% / +114%)
  • Harrington: $205,675 (+67% / +370%)

Delaware casinos still shut down

All three of Delaware’s casinos closed their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic on March 16. Delaware Park and Harrington both shut down completely, while Dover Downs kept its hotel and restaurants open a few days longer before closing them as well.

The state has been under shelter-in-place orders since March 24. These are set to expire at the end of May, and the most recent word from Gov. John Carney involves a plan for a phased reopening starting June 1.

There’s no specific timeline in place for casinos, but they will likely be towards the bottom of the list. Except for states and counties that are heavily dependent on gambling revenue, commercial casinos are broadly viewed as high risk, nonessential businesses.

Those that have reopened in other states so far have limited admission to a fraction of full capacity, and most are requiring their customers to wear masks. Other casino safety measures include plexiglass shields, disposable food and drinkware, and daily closures for deep cleaning.

- Alex is a journalist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Now site runner for Online Poker Report, he has been writing about poker and the online gambling industry in various capacities since 2014.
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