Along with Nevada, the State of Delaware has traditionally been one of the most flexible regions of the United States when it comes to gambling. Both sports betting and casino play have been allowed for some time and Delaware has also opened its doors to online operators in both key areas.
Largely because of this flexibility, online casinos have been very successful in Delaware but in 2020, the gambling industry faces a huge test. Coronavirus has left a devastating effect on lives right across the world and the global economy could also take many years to recover. With those concerns in mind, just what effect has Covid-19 had on the online casino industry inside Delaware?
A Numbers Game
If we want to go deeper in terms of Delaware online casinos we can read more here but the sector is an important contributor to the State economy. Overall, the gambling industry is worth some $1 billion dollars in Delaware and casinos certainly play their part.
Delaware may be a relatively small State with a shade under 100,000 residents but it certainly generates a significant amount of revenue through gambling. Among the figures released, it’s shown that $3 million of those funds come from the online casino sector. That’s a healthy number and although physical casinos within the State bring in far more revenue, online play is a big contributor and it’s one that has steadily grown over the years.
With little to stand in the way of that growth, online casinos in Delaware were set to thrive long into the future but what impact has Coronavirus had on that development?
One area of the gambling industry is certainly struggling with the issues surrounding Covid-19 but it’s not online casino play. From the middle of March onwards, the global sporting calendar has essentially ground to a halt and big sports betting companies are just starting to report on the subsequent impact.
One prominent group has reported that losses that can be attributed to Coronavirus tally up to some £50 million (GBP) a month and those are clearly significant figures. In the meantime, stats from Google show that search interest in sports betting terms are at their lowest levels for five years.
Sports betting operators can work to mitigate these losses to an extent: Alongside all of the traditional sporting events, there are markets for eSports, virtual sports, plus options in the realms of politics and entertainment. It’s clear that customers are being directed more towards these markets while sport tentatively makes its way back on to the schedules from mid-May on wards.
While sports betting has undoubtedly suffered, the current climate actually favors the sector covering online casinos and that includes operators providing services in Delaware. Casino games are static and automated and they are not affected by external conditions such as the weather or a global pandemic. In fact, while the majority of the planet is on lock-down, it might be fair to assume that interest in online casino play would actually increase and the figures certainly back up that theory.
Poker is just one part of the overall online casino sector and it sits prominently alongside other card games, together with other options such as roulette and slot machines. As part of the platform, poker is now enjoying a surge of interest which can only be put down to the effects of Covid-19.
One report states that in the US as a whole, there has been an increase in online poker play of 43 per cent. Meanwhile, new sign ups on poker sites are listed at a staggering 255 per cent. That’s a nationwide return but clearly some of those players will be located in Delaware and they will be enjoying more poker while lockdowns continue. In turn, those online casino revenues will keep on heading up for the time being.
If a gambling operator is struggling with its sports betting figures, it can direct its customers to eSports and other available options but it can also encourage account holders to look at casino. The vast majority of operators have one central website which covers all options including sports, casino and, on occasions, bingo and lottery. Customers can easily switch between platforms and that increase in poker play suggests that they’ve fully grasped the opportunity.
There is little to stand in the way of casino at the moment but there are certain developments that might just slow the growth of the industry in Delaware and beyond.
Let’s all go to the Lobby
The gambling landscape in the United States of America is slowly starting to change. In May 2018, a significant development took place when the Supreme Court overturned the earlier PASPA ruling which had outlawed sports betting.
A year earlier, in 2017, an organization known as the i-Development and Economic Association (iDEA), was set up with a view to lobbying governments and to put pressure on them to allow online gambling in the US. iDEA cited New Jersey as a positive example of a region that had made online gambling legal and was, as a result, receiving significant boosted revenue within the state.
In 2020, with Coronavirus having a devastating impact on the national economy, the lobbying by iDEA and similar bodies has intensified.
We know that Delaware already allows online casino play, along with other forms of gambling so, if those lobby groups get their way and the industry is extended, why would this State be affected?
Those players who are situated inside Delaware should continue to play and to add to the State’s revenue figures but an increase in online casino play in neighboring areas might just have an adverse effect. Some operators don’t actually insist that the customer has to be a resident of Delaware. As long as they are physically situated inside the State when they log on to play, that’s perfectly fine as far as some companies are concerned.
In future, anyone from a neighboring state who makes a point of crossing the line to play online casino in Delaware may stay within their own borders and that could affect the revenue produced. That’s one theory but in the main, the projection for online casinos is a positive one, even while Coronavirus continues to have a detrimental effect on the US economy as a whole.
Into the Future
It may be some time before the full effects of Coronavirus are known but the figures that have been released so far have backed up the theories outlined here. With very little sport on the calendar, sports betting is suffering with big losses being recorded among the operators.
In contrast, poker and online casino play is reporting an upturn in interest while existing and new customers are at home and looking for likely forms of entertainment. It may also be reasonable to assume that the new players turning to poker and other forms of casino play will continue to add revenue once sport returns. They’ve found an exciting new hobby and while some may naturally drift away, others will be retained.
Until those figures are finally released we can only make assumptions but the theory that online casino play will thrive in Delaware is an informed one. During any national or global crisis, certain sectors will actually benefit and therefore, while the US economy braces itself for what comes next, the online casino industry seems likely to grow.