Online Gaming in Delaware, New Jersey Off to a Weak Start

ICTMN Staff
1/27/14

In 2013, regulators in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey made it legal for casinos to operate online gaming websites. Industry analysts and casino operators projected a lucrative start, but due to potential players' difficulty funding their accounts with their credit cards, among other reasons like population size, actual revenue from Internet gambling has paled in comparison, particularly in Delaware.

After its November launch, Internet gaming in New Jersey generated $8.4 million within five weeks, the Division of Gaming Enforcement announced this month. But that number is significantly lagging for the state's forecast of $1.2 billion total by the end of its fiscal year in June, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Delaware online gaming brought in just $253,000 during November and December—well behind pace for its goal to generate $5 million in revenue during the first year, reported DelawareOnline.com. Delaware officials are confident though that marketing and promotion over the next few months will attract more players and boost revenue, said Vernon Kirk, director of the Delaware Lottery, which oversees gaming in the state. The State of Delaware collects 100 percent of the first $3.75 million of online rvenue in a given year, so casinos have yet to see a profit from Internet gaming.

Currently just two poker websites exist in Nevada, UltimatePoker.com and WSOP.com, and the state's gaming control board won’t release Internet gaming revenues until a third site is operating.

A primary culprit for the low take in New Jersey and Delaware has been poor credit card cooperation, especially Visa. Only 20 percent of Visa transactions have processed, while about 80 percent of MasterCard payments have gone through. Many banks and credit card processors turn down online gaming transactions, but people in the industry are confident banks will re-examine their policies concerning Internet gaming in the future.

The current alternatives to fund gaming accounts are more time-consuming or inconvenient: mailing in personal checks, bank transfers and ACH withdrawals. Another popular route for casino operators has been creating a prepaid card that customers can load with their credit or debit card. Winnings are also credited back to the card.  "There is a massive financial incentive for casinos to find ways to get money into an online account with relatively little friction," Chris Grove, editor of the industry publication Online Poker Report, told FoxBusiness.com.

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