Figures reported by the Delaware Lottery show that online poker experienced an uncharacteristic rise in revenue last month.
In total, the three Delaware racinos reported $24.3k in rake and tournament fees from the virtual tables in May with Delaware Park collecting the lion’s share at $14.6k, representing 60% of the market.
So what prompted the declining market to surge over the $20k mark for the first time since July of last year?
All signs point to the success last month being a result of New Jersey joining the shared liquidity pool of Nevada and Delaware.
The 888 online poker network (which provides the online poker platform for all of the racinos in Delaware) flipped the switch just prior to midnight EST on April 30 joining its player pool in New Jersey with the already combined player pool of Nevada and Delaware.
In Nevada, WSOP.com operates a branded online poker room using 888 software and in New Jersey the 888 network hosts both the WSOP.com and 888 branded poker rooms.
“This is truly a game-changer for players and we hope is the model blueprint for additional states to join the fray,” WSOP.com’s Head of Online Poker Bill Rini commented after the first three-way online poker network in the US was created.
Delaware and Nevada first formed the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) in February 2014, but until recently, the impact of shared liquidity has been difficult to assess.
The population of Nevada and Delaware combined is under 4 million people making it hard to achieve a critical mass large enough to support online poker. But the addition of the 9 million people in New Jersey has apparently allowed the MSIGA to surpass that threshold.
Still, operators can only combine their own player pools together, and the 888poker platform is the only regulated online poker network in the US outside of New Jersey, so the full potential of shared liquidity is yet to be realized.
How Uncharacteristic was May?
Because revenue figures in Delaware are significantly lower than in the other US states, a bit of perspective is helpful in understanding the just how uncharacteristic the revenue figures in the state were last month.
May was the first time in 19 months that the market experienced year-over-year growth, and over the previous 18-month decline, the average monthly drop was 29%.
In addition, the number of people that registered for an online gaming account in Delaware last month was reported as 1394. As a point of reference, the number of new accounts had been hoovering between 200 and 300 for more than a year until last month when it dipped to 172. Pokerfuse reached out to the Delaware Lottery to confirm its numbers, but no response was received prior to publishing.
The success of shared liquidity for the WSOP/888 US network, also known as the All-American Poker Network (AAPN), was also apparent in New Jersey where the network captured the market lead from PokerStars, marking the first time the world-wide online poker leader relinquished its lead in the market since its first full month in April 2016.
The success achieved by AAPN as a result of the newly formed shared liquidity pool can spread to other online poker networks once Pennsylvania launches its online poker market (expected by the end of 2018) and joins MSIGA (expected in early 2019). The addition of the nearly 13 million people in Pennsylvania will once again double the size of the regulated US online poker player pool and will likely entice other states to take another look at regulating online poker.