Rhode Island Sports Betting Handle Drops Below $40 Million in February

Sports betting handle dropped below $40 million for the first time in five months in February in Rhode Island. After a strong start to the year, the Rhode Island Lottery reported that the state picked up $38.8 million in wagers, with total gaming revenue down significantly from January this year. 

Revenue dropped by almost half in February to $2.8 million from January’s record high of $5 million. Rhode Island reported revenue of more than $40 million for four successive months from October last year to January this year. That streak broke in February due to the NFL’s offseason as has been the case with most other states across the USA.

RI Online Betting Handle Crosses $30 Million

Despite a comparatively slower month, Rhode Island still reported that patrons wagered more than $30 million in February online. Of the total $30.4 million wagered online, $27.9 million was paid back to patrons. In total, $2.4 million was collected as gaming revenue in February from online betting.

Business was contrasting for the two retail sports betting locations in the state. Both locations are owned and operated by Bally’s Corporation, which gives the company a retail monopoly in the state. Twin River managed to generate $5.9 million in sports betting handle but with more than $5.7 million paid back, total book revenue (before any commissions, operating or allocable expenses) amounted to just $206,467.

Tiverton Casino, on the other hand, collected less than half of that in betting handle. Tiverton generated $2.4 million in wagers but by paying out just $2.1 million, total book revenue was $287,553.

RI Wagers Cross $300 Million for Fiscal Year

Betting handle narrowly crossed $20 million to start the fiscal year, in July last year. After a couple more quiet months, Rhode Island’s bettors found wagering momentum with four strong months until February’s slowdown.

Across eight months in this fiscal year, Rhode Island has generated $305.9 million in sports betting handle. Of that, $279.2 million has been paid back to customers, generating $26.7 million in revenue so far for the state.

Online sports betting has generated $241 million in wagers in that same period with gaming revenue of $21.4 million. Twin River has collected $41.8 million in wagers with revenue of $3.4 million. Tiverton Casino has around half of those numbers, with $23 million collected in handle and $1.85 million generated in revenue.

RI Sports Betting Holds a Concerning Pattern for Revenue

Rhode Island was the eighth state to legalize sports betting in the USA. In March this year, Rhode Island also became the seventh state in the country to legalize iGaming after legislation was passed last year. However, with a population of a little over 1 million people in the state, betting handle and revenue were always not going to be comparable to the bigger states in the country.

Still, across almost six years, Rhode Island’s hold rate has crossed double digits only once, back in 2020, when the state generated $24 million on betting handle of $222 million at a win rate of 10.8%.

In 2022, Rhode Island generated $532.6 million, the highest annual betting handle recorded in the state. With revenue of close to $50 million at a hold rate of 9.2%, the state collected over $25 million in tax receipts. Last year, the state collected over $20 million in tax collections with $40.3 million generated in gaming revenue.

Those low hold rates, despite the industry standard being a little lower than 7%, could potentially begin to concern operators in the state considering the target market is already quite small and the tax rate quite high (5.99% to the Rhode Island Lottery and 24% in federal taxes).


About the Author
Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro covers the sports betting industry and revenue reporting at Gaming Today. Much of his work analyzes state revenue information, including betting activity and revenue for individual states and sportsbook operators. In addition, Nikhil provides news updates on the gambling industry itself, including product launches and legal issues. Nikhil’s previous experience includes five years with ESPN.

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