Sports betting revenue through Jan. trails projections

Updated at 2:53 p.m.

FISCAL YEAR TO DATE in January, book revenue from sports betting totaled $1.2 million on $32.8 million in bets. The state receives 51 percent of book revenue after operating and allocable expenses. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/ JUSTIN CHIN
FISCAL YEAR TO DATE in January, book revenue from sports betting totaled $1.2 million on $32.8 million in bets. The state receives 51 percent of book revenue after operating and allocable expenses. / BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO/ JUSTIN CHIN

PROVIDENCE – Sports book revenue from late November through January in Rhode Island has totaled $1.2 million, of which, the state would collect roughly half, according to the R.I. Lottery Thursday.

Sports bets in Rhode Island in the three months totaled $32.8 million, compared with the $31.6 million payout to winning bets in the period that it has been active (sports betting began on Nov. 26, 2018).

The $1.2 million fiscal year-to-date book revenue (the difference between bets made and payouts to bettors) will have operating and allocable expenses removed before the state gets its 51 percent share of betting income. The state has not yet provided the amount of money it collected through December or January, although the figures will be available in subsequent cash collections reports. In the most recent cash collection report for December, which reflected November’s sports betting figures, the $72,997 book revenue resulted in $21,630 in revenue for the state.

Lawmakers projected sports waging to bring in $23.5 million in fiscal 2019 in their budget in June, but have since revised the figure down to $12 million. As of January, the state has, at maximum, collected less than $612,000, significantly behind even the revised projection.

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R.I. Department of Revenue and R.I. Lottery Spokesman Paul Grimaldi noted that sport betting revenue is volatile by nature and event dependent, but said the state is taking the long-term perspective, expecting it to consistently generate revenue for Rhode Island. “It’s part of the contract,” he told PBN Friday.

So far, December betting provided the majority of sports book revenue of the three operating months at $957,913 on $13.1 million in sports bets. January netted $159,978 book revenue on $19.1 million in bets and the few days in November netted $72,997 on $682,714 in bets, with the state receiving only a fraction of those totals.

January figures include bets on the Patriot’s victory in the 2019 Super Bowl, for which 76.6 percent of bets on the point line favored the New England Patriots, a bet that paid off in a 13-3 win. Bettors in Rhode Island wagered $6.5 million on bets related to the 2019 Super Bowl, including the point spread.

Grimaldi also said expects revenue to inch back from the Super Bowl, but expects some impact still in February sports betting figures, when the game was played.

Figures from March will also be worth watching with the start of the “March Madness” NCAA championship basketball tournament.

The R.I. Senate also recently passed a bill to legalize mobile sports betting to expand the availability of sports betting in Rhode Island. The bill now moves to the House.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.

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