Delaware Sees Significant Online Poker Growth
When the coronavirus pandemic closed casinos and card rooms around America, many in the gambling industry assumed that online numbers would increase. They looked to New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania for bigger numbers.
The smaller-than-most Delaware iGaming market via the Delaware Lottery was the first to release official revenue numbers showing that growth.
March was the first month of significant growth for online poker, reflecting positively in the first quarter. The numbers still don’t compare to the record highs upon the 2013 launch and first months of 2014, as those remain unsurpassed to date. But Delaware’s March 2020 is the seventh biggest month for online poker in more than six years of regulated online poker, and its Q1 is the third largest.
As the stay-at-home orders remain in place throughout April and possibly into May, this upward trend may continue.
While our three Delaware casinos are physically closed, iGaming is still available! Download our world-class softwares today to play the most exciting casino games online. 🎰 https://t.co/AT6JpHVu5f pic.twitter.com/8GsrHcWNWT
— The Delaware Lottery (@DELottery) April 3, 2020
Delaware Market on Slow but Steady Rise
The Delaware online poker market never aimed to be a profit windfall. It was an addition to its land-based gambling operations offered at three racetracks (racinos): Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Racetrack. And online poker was a part of a much larger iGaming market for the state.
The sole online poker sites – one for each racino – in Delaware are connected to the WSOP.com sites in Nevada and New Jersey, as all operate on the 888poker platform.
There was some growth in 2019. Online poker grew 13.8% from the previous year, and internet gaming as a whole rose 43.3% from 2018.
Online Poker Market Growth
The online poker segment of the market started 2020 with year-on-year growth. Let’s look at the revenue by month:
–January 2020 online poker rake/fees: $31,279.77 (up 40% from $22,335.51 in 2019)
–February 2020 online poker rake/fees: $30,870.96 (up 21.8% from $25,348.17 in 2019)
–March 2020 online poker rake/fees: $57,689.50 (up 123.7% from $25,904.71 in 2019)
And the quarterly progress was also significant:
–Q1 2020 online poker rake/fees: $119,840.23 (up 63% from $73,588.39 in 2019)
The entire quarter cannot receive all of the credit for the spike in revenue, as March brought in nearly double the normal amount due to the coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
Internet Gaming Sector Growth
The entirety of internet gaming, which includes the above poker numbers, as well as online table games and video lottery numbers, grew as well. Even before March, numbers were up significantly as 2020 got underway. Here are those numbers:
–January 2020 iGaming net: $387,865.46 (up 38.7% from $279,541.09 in 2019)
–February 2020 iGaming net: $324,957.62 (up 18.3% from $274,692.11 in 2019)
–March 2020 iGaming net: $514,959.34 (up 78.3% from $288,744.54 in 2019)
The year-on-year surge for the quarter was just as impressive:
–Q1 2020 iGaming net: $1,227,782.42 (up 45.6% from $842,977.74 in 2019)
Again, some of this was due to the quarantine orders from the state government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That order became official on March 24, but many businesses, schools, and casinos were closed before that date.
New Registrations Up
The Delaware Lottery also tracks and publishes the number of new player registrations each month. Those numbers fluctuate most of the time, though they surged along with all of the other numbers in March 2020.
–January 2020 registrations: 468 (down 19% from 578 in 2019)
–February 2020 registrations: 431 (down 9.8% from 478 in 2019)
–March 2020 registrations: 930 (up 92.9% from 482 in 2019)
Of course, the March numbers brought the entire quarter up with them:
–Q1 2020 new registrations: 1,829 (up 18.9% from 1,538 in 2019)
With the entire month of April likely to keep people in Delaware under some form of quarantine, the April numbers should be even higher than March.
May and June will tell the real stories, as people begin to socialize again. The long-term numbers will show if Delaware online poker and iGaming in general attracted new customers who will continue playing or if the numbers revert to pre-coronavirus levels.
REMINDER: We are continually monitoring the COVID-19 situation and using the latest information from the CDC and Delaware Department of Health & Services to make the best decisions we can.
— The Delaware Lottery (@DELottery) April 12, 2020