As legal betting is gaining a foothold in the United States, the state with the smallest player pool looks like it may have had the most successful Internet gambling launch. With Nevada legal online poker launched earlier this year, New Jersey recently joined the Internet gambling party in the US by delivering poker and casino games, and Delaware has rolled out a full slate of poker and casino gambling options. While Delaware may not be able to claim the more than 50,000 registered players New Jersey saw sign up its first week of offering virtual gambling, the state has nonetheless received praise for probably the smoothest launch of Internet gambling so far. Legal online casinos are certainly providing an expanded set of options for US players.
The tiny state on the eastern coast of the US has not been offering legal online gambling options for very long, but they were the first to deliver a full-scale online gambling operation after a test run of one week. Similar to Nevada and New Jersey, Delaware has decided to offer its Internet gambling options through physical casinos. The three terrestrial casinos in Delaware, Delaware Park, Dover Downs and the Harrington Raceway, have partnered with 888 Holdings to deliver real money Internet gambling operations. With right around 3,000 registered players in Delaware, that state has generated a generous $3.8 million of player spending as of December 1. That is excellent dollar per player revenue.
The Delaware state lottery Director, Vernon Kirk, is in charge of running of this new Internet gambling operation. He, along with industry watchdogs, actually expressed pleasant surprise at how smoothly the initial launch has gone, and by “the attention the online offerings are getting.” He said everything has been going very well, and is encouraged by this early reception. Internet poker players are always concerned about liquidity, and the ability to log on any time of the day or night and access their favorite game, while also being able to choose from multiple tables. Basically, legal Internet poker players want lots of other players available so they can always find a comfortable or attractive game.
So far liquidity has not been a problem with Delaware, who is obviously concerned about its small population (roughly 1 million residents) contributing to a possibly small player pool. However, No Limit Hold ‘Em and Pot Limit Omaha cash games at the $2/$4 level have been well attended, as have sit-n-gos ranging from $1 to $100. Kirk mentioned that multitable tournaments will be coming soon, a favorite of many veteran online poker players. This will only serve to strengthen the already strong attendance that Delaware has seen in its poker offerings. Poker has been far and away the most popular offering, with blackjack second.
Obviously, legalized Internet gambling states like Nevada and Delaware need to eventually form player-pool compacts with each other, as well as states with larger player pools, like New Jersey. Kirk said this may take some time, and at this point the state’s gaming officials are extremely happy with the way things are going. How big can Internet gambling in be for the small east coast state of Delaware? Nearby state New Jersey has been pleasantly surprised by the amount of money created its first week in the online gambling business, with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie predicting $1 billion in total revenue generated by virtual gambling in his state by July of next year. While that number may be a tad optimistic, or very optimistic, it is obvious that a successful and smooth launch is very important for positive player perception, and the launch of Delaware legal online gambling certainly has that requisite under its belt so far.