• Revenue profits are down from initial estimates in the state of Rhode Island.
  • Bettors in the state now have the opportunity to use an online platform to place sports bets.
  • The low revenue after introducing online wagers is thought to be due to the Republicans in Rhode Island that want to challenge the legality of offering this outlet of sports betting.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Discussions took place on Monday within the Joint Committee in Rhode Island over the sports betting revenue reports for the first quarter.

The state launched its internet sports wagering platform in September and has seen no improvement in projected revenue since. In order to open an online account, bettors must do so in person at one of the two casinos as is required by law. More than 12,000 residents of the state have signed up, however, less than half of these members have accessed the sportsbooks to place wagers since joining.

The meager gains in revenue do not sync up with the time of year it is – NFL season. Football is the most bet on sport in the country and Rhode Island is full of New England Patriots fans, arguably one of the best if not the best teams in the game.

The lack of betting by residents could be due to the recent lawsuit in the state, despite the activity being legal. For gamblers that do not wish to take part in it with a debate going on, it’s much easier to take their sports betting offshore and still receive the convenience of mobile wagering. With only two sportsbook locations in the state, not everyone has access to make their way to these casinos, making offshore wagers much more appealing.

The two casinos with sports betting lounges in the state are the Tiverton Casino Hotel and Twin River Casino. Revenue reports for Twin River Casino show a $3.1 million financial gain in the first quarter. Those numbers are well below the projected $6.9 million that early estimates had shown.

NFL season and the addition of the online application were supposed to see a spike in interests for wagering on sporting events, but no such spike has occurred as of yet. However, all is not lost as Rhode Island Lottery Director Gerald Aubin believes a spike is inevitable due to a steady stream of about 600 people each week joining the online betting platform. He also noted that from the two sportsbooks in the state, a figure of $17.9 million was wagered in the first six weeks of the NFL season. That comes to a revenue gain of more than $2 million for Rhode Island.

“It is consistently getting better,” said Aubin to the Joint Committee.

The Ocean State has a very big tax on sports betting, claiming 51%. Projections for next June, which will make it one year since legal RI sports betting launched, Rhode Island had early estimates of $22.7 million in revenue to come from the sports wagering market. Due to their slow beginnings, it is not known whether or not they’ll be able to hit that mark.

As NFL season continues and the start of both the NBA and NHL seasons begin, there are plenty of opportunities for sports bettors to start placing wagers on a plethora of events. That just may be the boost that the state needs to see.

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