The Ups and Downs of Online Poker in DelawareMonday, December 9th, 2013 by Ryan
It’s an interesting thing talking about regulated online poker in the United States, especially since it feels like Black Friday was not all that long ago. With online poker starting to be regulated in different places throughout the United States, it hasn’t expanded too much just yet, but we’re getting there. Most of the talks about online poker in the United States are focused around two locations, in Nevada and New Jersey. One place that hasn’t gotten as much attention though is Delaware, who has their own internet gambling up and rolling. It’s been going for right around a month now, and it seems that the state officials in Delaware feel that things have gone pretty well to this point.
The state has three different brick and mortar casinos in it, which include Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs, and Delaware Park. These three casinos also serve as online gambling operators though as well, and they use the same client software. The software is provided by 888, but each separate casino has their own software in terms of the brands that you are going to see. Between the three online poker sites, we’ve seen a good number of players get registered. It hasn’t been nearly as many players as we’ve seen sign up in the other two states, but it’s a strong start.
Through the beginning of this month, Delaware has seen around 2,800 players register for online gambling accounts, and there has been around $3.8 million wagered through the different online gambling sites. Delaware officials obviously didn’t expect the numbers to be as high as New Jersey or Nevada, and I don’t think any of the players really did either. Vernon Kirk, who is the State Lottery Director said that they are “operating with a different player base.” He also said that things are going “very well”, and that they are also very happy about the “ability to continually and steadily add new registrants, new depositors every day.”
When online gambling got started in Delaware, the size of the state was the biggest issue, as they rank 45th out of the 50 states with under a million people living there. Online poker is obviously huge on traffic, as you need a good number of players to have consistent games running. It’s an obvious thing in the online poker world that if you go to an online poker site that is low in terms of their number of players and they don’t have constant games running, that the players are going to take their action elsewhere.
With online gambling coming to Delaware though, poker has been the most popular game to this point. After that is blackjack, but 888 Delaware, which makes up the three Delaware casinos has just an average of 20 cash game players over the past seven days, which is one of the smallest networks ever. This is something that of course needs to be worked on, but Delaware is considering forming compacts with New Jersey and Nevada to help increase their number of players.
Things haven’t fully gone smoothly to this point, mainly due to the fact that they are a new to online gambling. Credit card companies are still scared by the UIGEA, or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, so they’ve had issues getting into business with the online gambling in Delaware. The laws do allow for credit card transactions though, so this is something that should get worked out. Currently just 20% of the VISA transactions have gone through, and 80% of Mastercard transactions have gone through. Debit cards work nearly every team though, so that issue has been avoided.
Originally, some players couldn’t register accounts because the sites thought they were playing from out of state, and that issue really stemmed from the fact that internet traffic was coming through a Verizon hub in Philadelphia. The problem here has been handled though, and their group with Verizon both fixed this.
It will be interesting to watch Delaware online poker over the next few months and even over the next year or so. We’ll keep you updated on any additional news that comes out.