The state had its second-best month ever in January, with real money online casino gaming revenue of $1,121,345.
The January figure was also a 3.1% increase from December’s $1,087,671, according to figures posted by the Delaware Lottery. Only in May 2020 ($1,134,900) did the state coffers benefit more from the online casino gaming available.
This boost came despite the handle dropping in January. The handle in December was $35,529,003, a state record, but fell 17.8% to $29,215,981 for the first month of the new year.
The First State is one of six jurisdictions to offer online gaming, along with neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania, plus Michigan, Connecticut and West Virginia. All of those states offer online poker along with Nevada.
Three brick-and-mortar gaming facilities in Delaware also offer iGaming.
Delaware Park in Wilmington led the state in iGaming handle for January at $11.66 million, and in revenue at $515,381. The facility’s horse track has been operating since 1937.
Bally’s Dover Casino Resort, which was recently rebranded after decades being known as Dover Downs, came next with $10.88 million in handle and $370,918 in revenue.
At Harrington Raceway & Casino in Harrington, the handle for January was nearly $6.68 million and the revenue came to $235,046.
After the state lost money in December on sports wagering, things came back to normal in January.
January’s total sports betting revenue was $1,914,283. That figure derives from $765,092 at the state’s three physical sportsbook locations (the brick-and-mortar casinos) and $1,149,191 from more than 100 sports lottery retailers around the state.
Those lottery retailers only offer NFL parlay cards during the season. Football is the most popular sports betting option in the country so pretty much every state sees a decline after the season (save for a bump during basketball’s March Madness) but Delaware’s sports betting handle drops even more precipitously after the NFL ends than it does in other states.
Note: There is no mobile sports betting in Delaware.
In December, Delaware lost $969,520 ($296,809 from sportsbooks, minus-$1,266,329 from sports lottery retailers) in sports betting revenue.
January’s total sports betting handle was almost identical in a month-over-month comparison. It was $12,637,103 ($8,390,110 from sportsbooks, $4,246,993 from sports lottery retailers), a drop of just 0.01% from December’s $12,638,955 ($7,537,902 from sportsbooks, $5,101,053 from sports lottery retailers).
Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to accept a legal sports bet in June 2018, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Delaware even barely beat New Jersey to the distinction, though New Jersey brought legal action that led to PASPA’s overturn and the eventual state-by-state proliferation of legal, regulated sports betting.
In late 2018 Delaware recorded four consecutive months with sports betting handle of more than $20 million. But then neighboring Pennsylvania launched in November 2018 and, with its online sports betting product, kept Keystone State natives (especially in nearby Philadelphia) betting from home rather than having to go to Delaware to place bets.
Since then, Delaware, which still lacks online sports betting, has passed $20 million in handle just twice. The fact that its record sports betting handle of $24.2 million has stood since November 2018, when states all over the country have been breaking records left and right since then, demonstrates the limitations that Delaware imposes on itself by not having a true mobile wagering option.
The news won’t get any better next NFL season. By then, Delaware’s other neighbor, Maryland, could have online sports betting launched. At worst, Maryland will begin taking mobile bets partway through the 2022 NFL season and already is taking sports wagers at some of its brick-and-mortar casinos.
It’s not reasonable to expect Delaware – with a population of about a million, no major pro sports teams and just two Division I universities – to ever compete with its larger neighbors for total sports wagering handle or revenue. But the fact that its iGaming product is doing so well should be a clear indication that, as long as it does not offer mobile sports wagering, Delaware will never maximize that revenue stream the way that other states have.