Del. iGaming Not Raking It in Yet - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. iGaming Not Raking It in Yet

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DOVER, Del.- It has been almost a year and a half since the launch of internet gambling, or igaming, in Delaware. Poker, slots, table games with real money are all available online through the state's three casinos.

"It's no surprise it's been slow," said Ed Sutor, CEO of Dover Downs.

Sutor says the igaming tree has yet to bear fruit for those casinos. Their combined igaming revenue hit a monthly high of $241,000 in April 2014. But since then it has averaged around $150,000 a month.

2014's total revenue was $2.1 million. state law says the first $3.75 million in revenue goes directly to the state. So, every dime casinos have made off igaming so far has gone to state coffers.

Sutor blames the slow start on content still lacking, gaming not being available on mobile devices yet, and Delaware's small population. Players have to be inside Delaware to gamble, though now when it comes to poker not everyone they play will be in the first state, too.

"It has perked up recently with the state of Delaware hooking up with Nevada. Nevada has three times as many people," Sutor said.

Late last month the multi-state poker network between the two states went active allowing people in Delaware and Nevada to play against each other. That means there are more people available to make up a full table or tournament for poker play.

Vernon Kirk, director of the state lottery, says Delaware's small potential player pool led to, after the initial excitement, poker play dropping off dramatically.

"There weren't enough games available for the customers to be able to find when they wanted to find them at the stakes that they wanted," Kirk said. "Some that came in early got disappointed when they couldn't find games and drifted away."

Kirk hopes the new multi-state setup helps the situation. And both Sutor and he say it appears it already is. There's been a bounce in play just in the past two weeks.

"Without question the bounce was caused by the inter-connectivity of Nevada and Delaware," said Sutor.

Casinos are still struggling in Delaware. Dover Downs had a net loss of about $700,000 in 2014. Sutor says improving imaging isn't going to solve that issue. But he still wants to see the industry work with the state to get the most possible out of internet gambling.

Separate from igaming, lawmakers in Dover are currently considering a relief package for the state's casinos worth a combined $46 million over two years to Dover Downs, Harrington and Delaware Park.

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