Delaware iGaming Receives Huge Boost During Stay-At-Home Order

  • Delaware totaled $28.5 million in iGaming handle in April and collected $856,000 in revenue, easily the highest respective totals in state history.
  • Delaware is one of only four states to offer fully legal online casino gambling, putting it in an ideal position to weather the storm of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • While the increased handle and revenue makes for a good headline, it comes at the cost of all brick-and-mortar gambling revenue in Delaware.
  • The increased online gambling activity might also be unsustainable because of the tenuous economic climate.

DOVER, Del. – The state of Delaware experienced a huge surge in online casino and iGaming activity in April, leading to record high revenues.

Delaware’s total iGaming handle for the month was $28.5 million, easily the highest monthly total on record. This represents a 74% increase over the $16.4 million handle in March and a 138% increase from April 2019.

From this betting handle, Delaware’s online gambling operators earned $856,000 in revenue, an increase of $340,000 over March.

Online table games comprised $17.4 million, while video lottery games comprised the other $11.1 million. Delaware does not track the total betting handle for online poker but collected a total of $84,000 in poker revenue for the month—up 87% from April.

Figures for April sports betting revenue have not been released yet, but it likely experienced a heavy decline because of a lack of major sports to bet on. Online casino gambling is instead helping to fill that void.

Delaware is one of only four states with full, legal online casino gaming. The others are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. On Wednesday, New Jersey reported a similar spike of online gaming activity in April.

The Coronavirus And Delaware iGaming

Online gaming revenues has been bolstered by Governor John Carney’s stay-at-home order, which was issued as a response to the novel coronavirus epidemic. The order has been extended through at least May 31 and could possibly be extended again depending on the circumstances.

With so many people throughout the state stuck at home, interest in online gaming has spiked. This spike is more likely to benefit online casino gambling than online sports betting because all major American sports leagues remain suspended indefinitely.

Unfortunately, that spike in iGaming comes at a cost. Delaware’s three brick-and-mortar casino locations have all been shut down since the stay-at-home order was declared, so all retail casino revenues have dried up completely.

It is impossible to determine whether online casinos are attracting new players during the pandemic, or if frequent casino patrons have simply shifted their gambling activity online.

While iGaming can capitalize on a temporary lack of access to other recreational activities, the success of April might be unsustainable because of the current economic climate.

Over 30 million Americans have lost their jobs since March, and a study  from the Boston Consulting Group found that many plan to decrease their spending on gambling.

The longer the effects of the virus last, the more Americans will be forced to tighten their belts and reduce nonessential spending.

But as with so many other facets of the Coronavirus crisis, there are far too many unknowns to accurately predict the future.

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