Rhode Island’s sports betting market was hit incredibly hard by the coronavirus pandemic in April.
According to figures from the Rhode Island Lottery, bettors in the state wagered $591,377 on sporting events in April, representing a 96.5% year-on-year drop from the $16.9m wagered this time last year.
Mobile betting accounted for the majority of the state’s handle in April after bettors wagered $589,260 on mobile devices. Rhode Island launched mobile betting in September 2019, so it is not possible to make a year-on-year comparison. However, when compared to the previous figures in March, mobile betting handle was down 80.8%.
In terms of revenue, the state’s sportsbooks generated just $27,381 representing a 98.6% year-on-year decrease in sports betting revenue. Mobile betting accounted for $28,202 of the state’s total revenue, while the state’s land-based books reported a combined loss of $821.
The drop in betting handle and revenue can be attributed to the lack of sports to bet on after all major sports cancelled or postponed their events due to the coronavirus pandemic. On top of this, all commercial casinos across the country were closed in April to help halt the spread of the virus.
However, the shutdown of casinos in nearing its end. The two casinos in the state of Rhode Island are set to begin the first stage of reopening on 8 June, however, the sportsbooks at both venues will remain closed for the time being.
Breaking down the figures
According to the state’s figures, the land-based sportsbook at Twin River processed $1,718 in sports wagers. However, bettors won back $2,525 resulting in the sportsbook losing $807.
The sportsbook at the Tiverton casino faired slightly better after processing $399 in sports and paying out $413 in winnings. This left the venue with a loss of $14 in April.
As previously mentioned, mobile sports betting accounted for $589,260 of the state’s betting handle. However, bettors in the state won back $561,058 leaving the sportsbook with $28,202 in sports betting revenue.
Sports betting in Rhode Island
Sports betting in Rhode Island was initially restricted to two land-based casinos, which was detrimental to the market. In August 2019, the Twin River branded mobile sports betting app went live in the state.
Now that the state has a mobile betting option, residents will be able to place bets using the mobile app, rather than travel across the state to visit one of the two land-based sportsbooks.
However, bettors that wish to wager on the mobile app must first visit a casino sportsbook to activate their mobile sports betting account. Once the account has been set up, they will be able to wager remotely from anywhere within the state.