Introduction to Delaware Slots Return-To-Player
Twenty out of fifty U.S. states offer slot machine return statistics, including Delaware. Let’s examine the state of Delaware slots return-to-player (RTP).
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An Overview of Delaware’s Slots Industry
Delaware has three pari-mutuel racetracks with VLT gaming machines offering multiple games of video slots, video blackjack, video poker, and video keno. The largest casino in Delaware is Delaware Park.
The Delaware gaming commission is Delaware Lottery Games. This state agency is responsible for providing gaming regulations for VLT-style gaming machines and table games. Further, enforcing Delaware’s gaming laws is the responsibility of the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.
At Delaware’s casinos, the minimum bet is 1-cent. The maximum bet is $2,500. Notably, Delaware has a policy of winner privacy. Gaming terminals fall under this privacy stipulation, so casinos cannot release the names of winners for promotional purposes unless the winner specifies otherwise.
Online gaming for real-money gambling, including slots as well as poker and other casino games, exists in Delaware, although an online player must be at least 21 and physically located within the state’s borders. See each casino website for links to this gambling option offered by Delaware.
Delaware is one of the original states where sports betting was available in 2009. Sports betting is for multiple games at professional and college sporting events.
Further, to help Delaware compete with casinos in neighboring states, all Delaware casinos offer table games of craps, blackjack, and roulette. The availability of other table games depends upon each casino.
Delaware’s Theoretical Payouts for Slots
The minimum and maximum theoretical payout limits for Delaware’s gaming machines are 87% and 95% as an annual average for each machine.
Further, games may have a theoretical payout higher than 95% with approval from the Director of Delaware Lottery Games. No list is publicly available of which machines the Director has given this approval.
Delaware’s casinos do not directly control the odds of winning on their VLT-style slot machines. Instead, Delaware Lottery Games updates the odds as directed remotely and offsite from the casinos.
Delaware’s Return Statistics for Slots
To calculate a player’s win percent, divide “Amount Won” by “Amount Played” for a month, then multiply by 100%.
Delaware’s Win% by Casino
The return statistics for Delaware’s racetrack casinos with slot machines go back to January 1996 for both Bally’s Dover and Delaware Park but only to August 1996 for Harrington Raceway.
Before focusing the most recent years, I’ve plotted these returns since 1996 and until January 2022.
Now let’s reduce the return statistics being plotted to after 2019.
Consider 2019 as a baseline, 2020 data as what happened during global pandemic, 2021 as a recovery period, and 2022 as the latest return statistics.
Analysis of Return Statistics
When Bally’s Dover and Delaware Park opened in January 1996, both started at very low returns. Bally’s Dover started under 90%, then dropped even further in its second month to the lowest in its existence so far. Then, for years, both casino racetracks made a slow and steady climb.
Harrington Park opened a few months later in August 1996 with a high return-to-play which was not exceed for nearly seven years. For almost two decades, a gap existed in RTP for these casinos such that there was a noticeable difference in player win percent. During these early years, Delaware Park was the best, Bally’s Dover was second-best, and Harrington was last.
Around early 2012, this ranking changed. While Harrington stayed last, Delaware Park and Bally’s Dover began to compete with one another for about five years. Beginning in 2017, Delaware Park gave up its attempts to compete with Bally’ Dover and instead began competing with Harrington Raceway and its substantially lower returns. Bally’s Dover proceeded to be uncontested with the highest return for over the next two years.
Since June 2019, Delaware’s three casinos have been operating with very similar returns. However, since November 2021, historically lower return Harrington Raceway has had the best return, Delaware Park has dropped to second place, and Bally’s Dover has dropped to last place.
Bally’s purchased Dover Downs in 2018, but since then Bally’s has purchased another ten casino resorts. The intent of this analysis is not to determine the market drivers for why these casinos have adjusted their return-to-play as they have and when they have. But it might well be interesting to attempt to correlate Bally’s purchases since 2018 with the change in returns at Bally’s Dover.
To use win-place-show horserace terminology, how long will Harrington Raceway Win, Delaware Park Place, and Bally’s Dover Show? Well, it’s been consistent for three months. Let’s make a bet that it lasts several months longer.
Summary of Delaware Slots Return-To-Player
Looking at Delaware slots return-to-player for its casinos Bally’s Dover, Harrington Raceway, and Delaware Park, we made a few predictions for 2022.
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