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Sports Betting Industry in Rhode Island Back on Track

Publish: 04.08.2019

Rhode Island legalized sports betting in June last year, only a month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down PASPA, becoming the eighth state do have done so. And although the start of legal sports betting was somewhat slow, it looks like the situation is changing for the better.

Opponents of gambling legalization were quick to point out that sports betting failed to generate the expected revenue, but it appears it only needed time for the activity to ramp-up.

The figures are slowly but surely increasing, with month-over-month improvements from May to June.

Sports Betting Industry in Rhode Island Back on Track

Numbers Going Up

The only two venues in Rhode Island that offer sports betting, Twin River Lincoln and Twin River Tiverton, have generated a combined $2.15 million in revenue in June, which represents a significant increase of 68% when compared to the results in May. This is good news for sports betting in the state, as June is typically a slow and boring month for major sporting events, and sports betting in general.

More than a year ago, while the state’s lawmakers debated over the future of sports betting, the experts predicted the legalization of this activity would bring $11.5 million in tax revenue. The results so far have not only failed to meet the expectations but represent a total disappointment, as only $3.5 million was generated from November to the end of June. If the growth trend continues, and with the new NFL season being only a month away, Rhode Island could significantly improve its take in the coming months, but it still won’t be able to reach the goals set earlier this year.

It is still hard, almost impossible, to give accurate prediction regarding the future revenue of the sports betting industry in Rhode Island, as there are no data on which any sort of predictions could be based. However, the American Gaming Association believes it has an idea of what can happen in the near future, and its message clearly says that the state’s sports betting performance will only get better in the coming months.

A Solid First Year

Earlier this year, Carolina Ponseti, the media relations director at the AGA said that under the scenario closest to what Rhode Island had implemented, they had estimated that the state would generate $6.4 million in sports betting gaming tax revenue on a yearly basis, which was $17.1 million less than the state had projected.

Ponseti pointed out their estimate was based on a fully stabilized market, and not on the first four months of operation, along with a tax rate of less than the one in Rhode Island, and a legal framework that did not include any unusual restrictions, such as Rhode Island’s prohibition on in-state college sports bets. She added all of these factors pointed to the expected 2019 sports betting tax revenue of well below even their modest and reasonable projections. was 

Rhode Island has already recorded tax revenue of $3.5 million, so by the end of this first year, it might reach the anticipated sum of $6.4 million, which is a good result when we take into consideration that this has been its first year in business.