Rhode Island Sports Betting Posts Stable Showing in May Handle

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Rhode Island reported almost a stable showing in sports betting handle, with May posting $28.25 million in handle, a little decrease from April’s $29.04 million. April had seen a free fall – though expected – when the monthly handle dipped from March’s $38.6 million, which was largely due to March Madness, the biggest sporting event in the calendar year.

According to the figures released Monday by Rhode Island Lottery, the month-on-month decrease of 2.7% in May was because of a dip of nearly $1.48 million in online sports betting from April. The mobile handle for the last month was $14.62 million compared to $16.10 million registered in April.

The dipping handles have been a general trend across the jurisdictions with legal sports betting since after March, and are expected to return to their full potential by the upcoming NFL in September.

Earlier in January, Rhode Island sports betting had posted its record for highest handle in a single month by bringing in $39.82 million, thanks to bettors’ interest in NFL and college football.

Mobile Betting Deviates from Popular Trend

The Rhode Island online sports betting typically reports a little more than half the total sports betting in the state, deviating from a general trend witnessed among other jurisdictions where mobile sports betting usually accounts for more than 80% of the total handle.

The Ocean State also has retail sports betting at two of its casinos. Twin River Casino reported $9.6 million in May sports betting handle, an increase from $8.82 million in April.

Tiverton Casino saw a slight decline in May handle ($4.06 million) compared to April’s $4.12 million.

Revenue Details

According to the last month’s sports betting report, the total “book revenue” for sports betting was $2.77 million, down 12.6% from April’s $3.17 million.

Book revenue or operators’ revenue in April was also a huge decline – 20.3% – from $3.9 million reported in March. Book revenue is the amount reckoned after payouts but “before any commission, operating, or allocable expenses.”

Other Gaming Revenues

Besides sports betting, Rhode Islanders have other gambling options such as video lottery terminals (VLTs) and table games.

VLTs reported a lucrative month as the Ocean State showed $40.3 million in VLT earnings, up 3.1% from April’s $39.1 million, according to the video lottery terminal report released Monday by the Lottery.

Similarly, table games also saw a 5% increase in May revenue, which brought $9.03 million, compared to April’s $8.6 million. The Rhode Island Lottery’s net table games revenue was $1.4 million in May, a slight increase from April’s $1.34 million.

More New England States to Launch Soon

Rhode Island was the first New England State to regulate sports betting in June 2018, and the first to launch the industry in Nov. 2018.

The Rhode Islanders can place legal wagers on sports at two casinos built in 2012 and 2016 after the voter referendum. In addition, statewide mobile is also available in the Ocean State.

New Hampshire was the next to follow when it legalized sports betting in July 2019. The Granite State has recently reported $42.4 million in its sports betting handle for May.

Connecticut is the latest New England State to join legal sports betting, with the anticipated launch later this year. On May 27, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed a sports betting bill into law, following an agreement between the governor and the two gaming tribes in the state.

The Connecticut sports betting – both retail and online – will be available through Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes, along with the Connecticut Lottery.

Maine – another New England State – is also on the road to sports betting legalization as an approved bill is already on the desk of Gov. Janet Mills, awaiting her signature to become it a law.

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