In December, Rhode Island closed 2020 with a severe decline in sports betting handle and sales, a fall that can be primarily attributed for much of the month to the state’s two casinos closing.
Owing to an increase in coronavirus cases across the state, the physical sportsbooks at both the Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Tiverton Casino Hotel were closed from Nov. 29 to Dec. 21. They were (and still are) working with a reduced capacity when the casinos reopened. In an attempt to curb the influx of COVID-19 incidents, Gov. Gina Raimondo ordered casinos as well as many other forms of businesses to shut down in Rhode Island.
In December, the Rhode Island Sports Betting Handle was $22,770,472, down 35.1 percent from November, when the figure was a $35,098,445 state high. In a year-over-year contrast, when the sports betting handle was $31,670,511, the December figure was down 28.1 percent from the last month of 2019.
Sports betting revenue decreased by 59.7 percent from November, when it was a $6,281,321 state high, to $2,533,090 in December, according to figures released by the Rhode Island Lottery. The revenue for December was 1.5 percent below December 2019’s $2,571,755.
Mobile Sports Betting Increases in Rhode Island
In December, one gambling figure in Rhode Island rose and it’s the one not affected when casino closures occur: betting handle for mobile sports. To set a state record, the number reached $18,339,059. This again highlights the significance of every state seeking to maximise its handling of a robust online sports betting industry. That was up 16.8 percent from November ($15,699,743) and more than double from December 2019 ($8,751,004) when it was just a few months old for the Rhode Island online sports betting option.
The fifth month in a row in December marked a reset of the state record for online handling. Mobile betting has been legal since September 2019 in Rhode Island, and Gov. Gina Raimondo introduced a bill in the summer of 2020 that requires registration from anywhere in the state. The removal of the necessity for in-person registration has paid dividends, even more so at a time when physical casinos were closed.
Rhode Island drew $153.7 million in overall sports betting revenue for the first six months of the 2020-21 fiscal year (July through December), well ahead of the 2019-20 rate. The overall sports betting handle was just over $200 million that fiscal year, with casinos closed from mid-March to June 2020 due to the pandemic.
Revenues for the 2020-21 FY were approximately equal to the previous fiscal year at $17.3 million over six months; overall sports betting revenues from July 2019 to June 2020 were $18.7 million.
During COVID-19 Gaming Way Down
Naturally, in-person gaming in Rhode Island was a small fraction of the usual consumption, with casinos closed for three weeks.
At Video Lottery Terminals, December net terminal revenue was $7,967,346, down 60.7 percent from VLT revenue in November ($20,267,473) and down 79.6 percent from December 2019 ($39,047,415).
Revenue from table games in December 2020 was $1,786,436, down 65.1 percent from November ($5,122,047) and 82.3 percent from $10,115,709 12 months earlier.
Both Rhode Island casinos would close at 10 p.m. in addition to capacity reductions. From Sunday to Thursday and at 10:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Friday. Also, according to Twin River’s website, the poker room in Lincoln remains closed.
Rhode Island Sports Betting December vs November
|Total handle||Mobile handle||Revenue|
|Change||Down 35.1%||Up 16.8%||Down 59.7%|