Road full of bumps in Rhode Island

Road full of bumps in Rhode Island

June 26, 2018 3:11 AM
by

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a bill last Friday that made sports betting legal within the state, and then inked a $9.6 billion budget package that includes $46.05 million in sportsbook win off $910 million in expected write.

That aggressive figure is expected to come from just two Twin Rivers properties in Lincoln and Tiverton and mobile phone wagering has yet to be approved.

Just for a quick comparison to Nevada, consider that 189 sportsbooks combined last year to set records in the state for handle ($4.8 billion) and revenue ($248.7 million), a hold of 5.1 percent. Those records were the direct result of more bettors within the state wagering with ease on the many sports betting apps offered by almost every book.

I wish Rhode Island well, but it doesn’t appear they did much research for the budget, or they just throw numbers out there because of not being on a bonus structure and no accountability to actually meet the budget.

Let’s make a price on Under $46.05 million win and start it at 1/10,000, the equivalent of an 80s Mike Tyson bout against a tomato can hooked up to an in-progress wager with the 2000 Yankees up 3-0 in a series leading 4-1 in Game 4 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, no runners on, and Mariano Rivera having an 0-2 count. In other words, $46.05 million has no shot.

Most of the reason I say they have no shot at achieving their lofty goal is due to no mobile wagering. They’ll revisit the issue soon, I’m sure, but for now, it’s just wagering at the brick-and-mortars which is so 1998.

I thought Pennsylvania’s 36 percent yank of the betting pie was egregious, but how about Rhode Island taxing 51 percent of the cheese, which comes out to $23.5 million according to their budget. The casinos get 17 percent, or $7.8 million, and the vendor, IGT, gets 32 percent, which comes to $14.75 million in make-believe money. The state lottery will run the booking end – they have no experience at it – and I’m guessing labor costs and all the other expenditures will be split between the state and casinos.

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And how is IGT getting so much for their software unless they’re covering some of the other expenses as well, or perhaps bringing in their bookmaking skills – they have none. No software company in Nevada gets a piece of the sports win, just a flat monthly rate.

Remember, IGT, who also runs the state lottery software and hardware, was awarded the state sports betting contract basically because not many other vendors knew about the deadline to apply that IGT did. It still smells kind of shady.

It doesn’t sound like the state lottery, IGT, or any of the legislators that agreed to the bill had much of an understanding of how the sportsbook works. Research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming projected Rhode Island with $25.6 in win off $395 million wagered, and that number was optimistic.

It looks like all involved with this legislation saw dollar signs, or were just not informed, and went as fast as they could to get something going. Those errors are probably why a lot of other states are smart for letting things play out a few months before getting involved, learning from others mistakes.

Rhode Island will be a perfect blueprint for other states to follow regarding what not to do. I have a feeling West Virginia might be a close second. Mississippi is using Nevada as a model and things are going well with betting expected there before football season.

The sad part of it all with the poor decision making and everyone with their hand in the register is the entire purpose of offering sports betting was to bring incremental money to the state, build schools, buy a few more fire trucks and hire more police officers for the Rhode Island communities.

Rhode Island is expected to be accepting sports wagers by Oct. 1.

Final Four odds

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook posted odds to make the Final Four for the first time in their history and lists Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas as the 5-to-4 (+125) favorites. Gonzaga comes in next at 7-to-4, followed by Nevada at 3-to-1 and North Carolina, Michigan State and Virginia at 9-to-2. The big surprise of the bunch mixed in with the blue-bloods is Nevada who lost in the Sweet 16 to Loyola-Chicago in the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack returns their key starters while adding McDonald’s All-American Jordan Brown.

Westgate Final Four Odds

Freak-o-Leake

When you think of elite pitchers in baseball to bet, don’t look at all the data that comprises candidates to win the Cy Young Award, but look at the pitchers that actually win the most. Take Seattle’s Mike Leake for instance. He won’t be on any voters’ top-10 Cy Young list, but he and his lofty 4.11 ERA have MLB’s best return on investment at +10.8 units.

It’s within those imperfections that keep his daily rating so low. On Saturday, Leake went eight shutout innings at Fenway Park to beat the Red Sox as a +160 underdog to make the Mariners 12-4 behind him this season. Seattle (47-31) has won eight of his nine last starts, of which he’s been an underdog five times and a favorite no higher than -130 in the other four. He’s allowed two runs or less in seven of those starts.

Hop on the wagon; and it doesn’t hurt that the M’s offense has MLBs third-best batting average (.261). Leake is hot and the rating hasn’t caught up yet. Through Sunday’s games, the Mariners were No. 2 with a +14.2 unit return on investment if betting every game. The Braves are No. 1 at +15.6 units.