Rhode Island Sees Decline in March Sports Betting Numbers

Rhode Island Sees Decline in March Sports Betting Numbers
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Rhode Island saw a drop in March sports betting handle and revenue as both casinos in the state closed on March 14 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Total handle for March was $8.949 million, according to the Rhode Island Lottery’s monthly revenue report that was released Tuesday. That’s a 68.2% decline from February’s total of $28.138 million wagered. In March 2019, Rhode Island had $23.583 million in total sports betting handle.

RELATED: Learn more about Rhode Island sports betting and gaming

Sports betting revenue for March was $841,767, a decline of 63.8% from the $2,323,432 in February, according to the latest report. The March 2020 revenue was also down from March 2019’s $1,548,230.

States with legal sports betting saw similar drops in March. The state is under a stay-at-home order until May 8.

Mobile handle in March was $3.065 million, a decline of 63.8% from February’s $8.466 million. Mobile betting wasn’t available in Rhode Island a year ago.

Rhode Island mobile sports betting has been hindered by the single, online betting option and an age verification process that requires physically visiting a casino. Mobile sports betting was 34% of the total handle, an increase from 30% in February and 25% in January. That still pales in comparison to the national average and to sportsbooks in states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which regularly see about 90% of their action from online.

Rhode Island Sports Betting March 2020 vs. February 2020

March 2020 Feb. 2020Change
Total Handle$8.949M$28.148M-68.2%
Mobile Handle$3.065M$8.466M-63.8%

The Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton are the only facilities licensed to accept wagers in Rhode Island. They were closed by the lottery on March 14. The Twin River Casino in Lincoln posted $441,355 in sports betting revenue off $4,454,765 in handle in March. Tiverton’s total handle for March was $1,429,656, which produced revenue of $184,610.

Governor Cleared by Ethics Panel Over Lottery Deal

The state ethics commission ruled Tuesday that Gov. Gina Raimondo did not commit an ethics violation during negotiations for a no-bid, 20-year lottery contract with IGT (International Game Technology). The commission voted 7-1 to dismiss the complaint, according to the Associated Press.

Rhode Island has had a long relationship with IGT, the European gaming company that runs the state lottery.

According to the Associated Press, the complaint filed in July alleged that Raimondo violated a regulation that prohibits public officials from using their positions to benefit a “business associate.” The AP said she negotiated the contract with a former IGT executive who was an official with the Democratic Governors Association, which Raimondo led.

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