Rhode Island Posts $29M Sports Betting Handle in April

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Rhode Island sports betting reported an expected decline in April, in line with most other legal sports betting states reporting the same for the month. According to the Rhode Island Lottery, the state’s total sports betting handle dipped 24.7% in April to $29 million. March’s swelling handle of $38.6 million was largely thanks to the NCCA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, the biggest event in a sports calendar.

Similarly, operators’ revenue also saw a proportionate decline of 20.3% month over month, to $3.2 million in April from $3.9 million reported in March.

Of the total handle, Rhode Island’s online market accounted for $16.1 million, down 24.1% from March’s mobile share of $21.2 million.

Significant Improvement Year-Over-Year

Though April saw slow sports betting action in Rhode Island, it merely trickled down a general effect from a static month with fewer sport betting options. Most other regulated markets, including New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Virginia saw the shrinking handles. Some of those jurisdictions even reported more than a 25% decline month-over-month. Rhode Island sports betting just reflected a general tendency.

However, the Ocean State saw a remarkable improvement year over year. Last month’s handle was a 4811% increase from the $591,377 reported in April 2020. Also, Rhode Island sports betting revenue was 11,472% higher in April 2021 from $27,381 reported during the same period a year prior.

In addition, Rhode Island mobile sports betting reported a 2633% increase last month from $589,260 reported in April 2020.

Other Gaming Information

Rhode Island’s video lottery terminals (VLG) witnessed a 2% increase to $39.1 million from income generated in March ($38.3 million).

According to the lottery, table games saw a 2.8% decline in April revenue to $8.6 million, from March’s $8.9 million.

The Rhode Island Lottery did not reveal revenue numbers for VLTS or table games last year.

First New England State to Legalize Sports Betting

Rhode Island became the first New England State to legalize sports betting in June 2018. In March 2019, then-Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the online sports betting bill into law. By July 2020, the state eliminated the in-person registration requirement, a burdensome condition asking new bettors to visit a physical casino to get themselves registered for mobile betting.

The Ocean State also became the first New England state to launch sports betting in Nov. 2018 when the state’s lawmakers, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, placed the first wager at Twin River Casino’s Lincoln location.

The residents can legally bet on sports at two casino locations, built in 2012 and 2016 after the voter referendum. Statewide mobile sports betting is also available in Rhode Island.

New England to See its Third Legal Sports Betting State Soon

After Rhode Island, New Hampshire was the next New England state to legalize sports betting in July 2019. Connecticut will be the latest to join the two later this year.

Last Thursday, Connecticut Gov. signed sports betting bill into law days after the state Senate approved the measure 28-6. The lower chamber had passed the measure earlier in April by a significant majority of 122-21.

The Nutmeg State will allow sports betting through its two gaming tribes- Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot. The tribes will open sportsbooks at their establishments. They will also operate digital sports betting and online casino.

In addition, sports betting would also be extended through as many as 15 sports bars or other facilities licensed by the state’s lottery.

Connecticut has also become the sixth US state that allows online casino gambling. Michigan was the fifth when it launched in Jan. 2021.

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