Rhode Island Sports Betting Slow In May With Casinos Closed

Rhode Island Sports Betting Slow In May With Casinos Closed
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Rhode Island casinos reopened June 8. Sports betting in May suffered from the closures. Although numbers were higher than April, the figures were far lower than a year ago.

The total handle for May was $1,533,114, a 159% increase over April’s $591,377, but still a fraction of normal month. May 2019 saw $18,900,152 in total handle.

RELATED: Learn more about Rhode Island sports betting and gaming

Revenue for May was $163,472, six times higher than April’s $27,381 but down considerably, 81.8%, from May 2019’s $899,165 in revenue, according to the Rhode Island Lottery’s financial report.

Rhode Island Sports Betting May 2020 vs. April 2020

May 2020 April 2020Change
Total Handle$1.533M$591,377+159.2%
Mobile Handle$1.531M$589,260+159.8%

Sportsbooks, Casinos Have Reopened

The recent May numbers were almost exclusively mobile since the two casinos in the state were closed in mid-March because of the coronavirus.

Rhode Island’s mobile sports betting market only has a single, online betting option through the state lottery and a restricting age verification process that requires visiting one of the state’s two casinos.

The state’s two casinos — Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln and the Tiverton Casino Hotel — reopened in early June after being shut down by the Rhode Island Lottery on March 14.

There were new health and social distancing measures in place for the reopening, according to the Twin River website. Each facility was limited to about 25% of capacity and facemasks were required for guests and employees.

Online Gaming Could Have Helped Rhode Island

In addition to the bulky registration requirements for sports betting, you can’t play online casino games or online poker in Rhode Island. States like Michigan and West Virginia are making a push to get online slots, table games and poker up and running, joining New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Nevada in offering online gaming options.

But Rhode Island, like Montana and Oregon, is run by the state lottery, and there have been issues in those states with odds, registration, geofencing and the lack of sports betting options. Illinois just recently issued an executive order making it easier for mobile sports bettors to register online without visiting a casino.

Expanding iGaming is probably a long way off in Rhode Island, but improving the registration for sports betting would go a long way to boosting its numbers, especially when bettors can’t get to the casinos.

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