Industry Reports

Sports Betting Implementation Delay Could Cost Rhode Island about US$5 Million

The state of Rhode Island was first supposed to roll out the first sports betting services on October 1st but then, the official launch was put off to “around Thanksgiving”.

According to new estimates, the unexpected delay will cost the state approximately US$5 million less in revenue in 2018 than initially planned, as tax collections will be smaller.

At the time when Rhode Island lawmakers gave the green light to sports betting at Twin River Casino in the summer of 2018, the initial forecasts involved an additional revenue of US$23.5 million which the newly-legalized gambling option would bring to the state budget in the fiscal 2018/2019. The official launch of sports betting operations was planned to take place on October 1st, but was then delayed to “around Thanksgiving”.

According to figures from the Revenue Estimating Conference, analysts cut their expectations for sports betting contribution to the state’s budget by US$12 million. In addition, the expected business tax collections for the fiscal year ending on June 30th, 2019 were reduced by US$22.9 million and personal income tax was cut by US$4.9 million.

Still, the Conference saw sales tax collections were increased by US$10 million, while the overall gambling revenue rose by US$7.9 million, primarily thanks to the positive influence of table games and slot machines which helped compensate for the loss of sports-betting income.

Rhode Island Puts Online Sports Betting On Hold for Now

The reduced expected revenues which were announced last Friday, are set to be used by Governor Gina Raimondo in her next budget proposal which will take place in January 2019.

In 2019, state revenues are expected to reach US$4.1 billion, a figure which represents an increase from the US$3.9 billion revealed in this year’s budget.

Now, the state is expected to see the first legal sports wagers by the end of Thanksgiving week, and in December 2018, the Twin River Casino is set to add a new sports betting lounge offering customers to watch live sports events and place bets on them.

Six months after the US Supreme Court first announced its ruling on New Jersey’s sports betting case, lifting the nation-wide ban on sports wagers imposed by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), Rhode Island is to become part of the states which adopted sports betting as a significant source of new tax revenue. Considering the fact that Massachusetts and other neighboring states at the North East are still discussing the possible addition of the new gambling option, customers from these states could visit Rhode Island to take advantage of the new betting options which are to be offered at the Twin River Casino and the Tiverton Casino Hotel.

At first, the state will not allow online sports betting. Still, local legislators have planned to legalize remote betting for Rhode Island customers, with the change expected to happen sometime in 2019.