Rhode Island Sports Betting Revenue Rises but Falls Short of Expectations

Rhode Island Sets a Record for Sports Betting Revenue In A Month

In March, Rhode Island had their best revenue showing since making sports betting legal last year.

Sportsbooks in Rhode Island brought home $1.54 million in revenue in March.

The high figure was due to the heavy betting on the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

The state receives 51% of all profit per month, so Rhode Island’s take in March is close to $775,000.

The state and bookmakers were glad to see a rebound in March after the Super Bowl cost sportsbooks in the state almost $1 million in losses after the Patriots hoisted the trophy.

For Rhode Island legislators, including Governor Gina Raimondo, the $775,000 figure is encouraging but well short of the $2 million per month they expected.

As a result of the poor opening returns since the bill passed, Gov. Raimondo has reduced estimates to roughly $11.5 million in expected earnings for the upcoming fiscal year.

That number is still expecting close to $900,000 per month in revenue for the state, a figure they have yet to reach.

”I think in the long run, the numbers are going to be what we thought, but we got a slower start,” the Governor told The Providence Journal.

“Maybe we should have known it was going to be slower and forecasted accordingly,” she continued.

“I also think the world is changing and actually the money is going to be on the (mobile) phone.”

And the mobile phone is where the state is concentrating their efforts moving forward as the state recently passed a law that would allow sports bets to be made via an app from anywhere in Rhode Island.

State officials hope to have a dependable app ready for the start of the upcoming NFL season.

But a decision has not been made on who will develop the app for the state’s bookmakers, William Hill and IGT.

Overall, the volume of sports bets inside Rhode Island lifted to $23.6 million worth of wagers against $22 million paid out to winning tickets.

In February, state casinos accepted nearly $20.7 million in wagers over the month.

At one of the two casinos in the state, the Twin River Casinos, upper management believes the increase in tickets was due to self-betting machines being installed inside the casino.

The state’s Lottery Director, Gerald Aubin, expressed encouragement at the March numbers.

“We will make money on sports betting,” Aubin told the Hartford Courant after a recent legislative meeting.

“We are in the gambling business. It’s volatile and we will have those situations where people win a lot.”

“It could’ve gone the opposite way with the Super Bowl (had the Patriots lost).”

Aubin also expressed enthusiasm for the early MLB returns saying that revenue has remained steady throughout the first month of the baseball season.

Lawmakers and the Governor’s office continue to remain optimistic yet patient in the ever-growing sports betting industry.

With the expansion to online betting on the horizon, the state should soon begin to see some of the revenue figures they believed legal sports wagering would return when they introduced the law last year.

Also take a look at our article Why Most States Have Not Seen Big Money from Sports Gambling.