Rhode Islands Sees Increased Sports Betting Handle

Rhode Island casinos reopened June 8, which helped increase the overall sports betting handle last month, and as the requirement for registration in person ends there is more support on the way.

The overall betting handle for Rhode Island sports in June was $2,032,803, an rise of 32.6 percent from May’s $1,533,114. Yet from June 2019’s $14,736,667, it was down 86.2 percent year-over-year, according to figures released on the state lottery website. For June, the mobile handle was $2,100,736, up from May’s $1,530,671 37.2 percent.

Yet sports betting revenue of $101,328 in June 2020 was down 38 percent from May’s $163,472 and a 95.3 percent drop from June 2019 ($2,149,999), the figures show.

Part of the problem in Rhode Island was the state’s limiting age verification process , which involves registration in person. The law is gone but Rhode Island still has only one online betting option through the state lottery.

Since the gaming revenue base of Rhode Island was decimated during the coronavirus pandemic, legislators approved two bills to rid themselves of the state’s in-person registration requirement to position mobile sports bets. On 22 July Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the legislation.

That means sports bettors can register from anywhere in the state and not have to visit the two casinos of the state — Lincoln’s Twin River Casino Hotel and the Tiverton Casino Hotel. As shown from the Nevada sports betting revenue statistics also published Wednesday, the market is limited by in-person registration.

Nevada also has the in-person registration rule, as does Illinois, which suspended the law during the pandemic but on Sunday it came back into effect. The provision for Iowa will expire on Jan. 1.

Rhode Island took $200,188,405 into the sports betting handle for the fiscal year ending June 30, and produced $18,706,457 in total book revenue. The first full fiscal year in which Rhode Island had legal sports betting was from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020; the State made its first bet on 26 Nov 2018.

The sports betting handle drops between states were anticipated in April and May after sports shut down in mid-March and states, including Rhode Island, had to close casinos. But having a strong mobile market with no restrictive rules on registration helped some states earn revenue.

The incentives for betting will keep on rising. After at least early June, UFC, NASCAR and the PGA have hosted annual events and the major sports leagues are beginning to return. MLB started its season with two games on July 23 and plays a regular schedule.

The NBA restarts its season Thursday and still has to come up with the playoffs. The NHL resumes Saturday with the Stanley Cup playoffs on the horizon, a major betting opportunity.

That is going to mean betting on the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins in New England. You won’t even need to visit a casino in Rhode Island to place your bet.

Rhode Island Sports Betting June 2020 vs. May 2020

  June 2020 May 2020 Change
Total Handle $2.033M $1.533M +32.6%
Mobile Handle $2.100M $1.531M +37.2%

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