Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Rhode Island Sportsbooks Post Loss After Disastrous Super Bowl Results

Lackluster Profits Leave State Government Short Of Their Projected Tax Revenue


February wasn’t a good month for sports betting operators in Rhode Island. According to numbers released by the state’s lottery, which acts as the regulatory body for sports betting in the Ocean State, sports books managed to lose $900,000.

The total handle for the month was about $20.7 million, which was good, but the books paid out a whopping $21.6 million, which was bad.

The Super Bowl was the biggest factor in the books’ loss. Rhode Island is the only state in New England that offers sports betting and most of the money wagered on the game was on the nearby Patriots, who defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3.

Rhode Island joined New Jersey in the states whose sportsbooks took a loss on the Super Bowl. The Garden State lost $4.5 million on the game.

February’s loss represents a larger trend of unfulfilled expectations in Rhode Island.

The state projected that sports betting would generate $11.5 million in tax revenue for the first fiscal year, which ends June 30. Sports betting revenue is taxed at 51 percent and so far, books have only profited about $300,000 from a total handle of $53.5 million since sports betting went live last November.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said that it’s unlikely that the state meets its projections after the Super Bowl loss.

“It is doubtful that revenue figures will hold up to estimates, in large part due to a disappointing February, which was not unexpected due to the success of the Patriots,” said Ruggerio in a statement.

In an effort to increase sports betting profits and raise tax revenue, Rhode Island quickly passed a mobile sports betting bill, which was signed by Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) last week. It will allow Twin River Casinos, the only licensed sports betting operator in the state, to operate mobile apps that will allow bettors to place a bet from their phone as long as they are located within the state’s borders.

New Jersey, the only other state offering mobile sports betting outside of Nevada, generates most of its tax revenue from mobile sports betting.

In February, physical sportsbooks in New Jersey didn’t end up profitable and thus, there was no tax revenue to collect. The online books, however, sent $1.7 million to the state.

Rhode Island hopes that it will see similar results, simply because their upcoming budget depends on it. Raimondo’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year is including $30 million in tax revenue from sports betting with $3 million coming from mobile betting.



over 1 year ago

I suppose that they couldn't put the action off at another book.