Only four on the floor, but a good start

How Much Can We Really Learn From Four Days Of RI Sports Betting Revenue?

RI sports betting

New Englanders apparently like the idea of RI sports betting, if the first four days of wagering give any indication.

The question is, do they really offer any clues about the future in Rhode Island?

Last week, the state lottery released the first-ever RI sports betting revenue report. The filing, which covers four-and-a-half days of November, shows more than $682,000 in wagers placed. Those bets led to a hold for Twin River of nearly $73,000. That’s a hold of roughly 10.7 percent.

Those numbers include only the Twin River property in Lincoln, which launched first. Its sister casino in Tiverton also features sports betting but did not open its operation until early December. The Tiverton property sits within an hour’s drive of Boston and could capture bettors from that market.

But what does it mean for RI sports betting?

Extrapolating just about four days of data to predict the future of RI sports betting makes little sense. Rhode Island launched in the middle of the NFL season and the waning days of college football. Both drive more revenue than what’s available in July, for example.

We can, however, take those initial numbers and simply state what their pace would produce over time.

The $682,000 handle produced equates to roughly $151,000 per day. Over a 30-day month, that adds up to about $4.5 million in handle. Hold will, of course, fluctuate, but that 10.7 percent from above generates more than $481,000 in revenue.

How revenue is distributed in Rhode Island

It is important to remember that the casinos make little profit on RI sports betting. That is because the state lottery controls the state’s sports wagering operation. Twin River’s two properties are the only licensed entities in the state and that will likely persist. RI sports betting does not feature mobile as of yet.

The Rhode Island Lottery works with IGT and William Hill as partners to operate sports betting. Sports betting revenue splits as follows:

  • State: 51 percent
  • IGT: 32 percent
  • Casino: 17 percent

The state’s effective monopoly limits the growth potential for RI sports betting. State legislators legalized sports betting in the summer of 2018 at the request of Gov. Gina Raimondo.

Raimondo included sports betting in her budget request, with projected annual revenue of $23 million. After the state missed its launch target date of October, forecasters revised that projection down to more than $11 million.

Twin River happy with its opening

Twin River Spokesperson Patti Doyle provided a statement to Legal Sports Report about the early returns:

We’re pleased by the response by our customers to this new amenity. We opened our sports betting in two phases — first with terminals in our simulcast area on the third floor of the Lincoln, RI, casino and more recently a dedicated Sportsbook Bar and Grill on our second floor where patrons can dine, bet and relax in a loungelike environment.

Adam Candee
- Adam Candee is the managing editor of Legal Sports Report. He covers sports business and news from Las Vegas. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun and KLAS-TV. He can be reached at [email protected]
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