The jury is still out as to whether or not Rhode Island will miss out on millions of dollars of revenue after delaying the introduction of legal sports betting until mid-November. An October 1 start date had been set when sports betting was made legal as part of the state budget back in June.
Industry observers, prompted by data from Nevada, argue that the new November deadline will cost the state dearly in lost tax revenue. That suggestion is now being denied by the Rhode Island Department of Revenue which claims it remains on track to meet the $23.5m in gaming revenue earmarked by Governor Gina Raimondo for 2019.
Expectations are running high for big profits from sports wagering in the Plantation State. Added to Raimondo’s $23.5m projection are anticipated earnings of $14.75m for technology supplier IGT and circa $8m for operators at Rhode Island’s two casinos. To achieve those numbers, bettors will need to wager in the region of $910m in less than a year.
The two casinos set to offer sportsbooks in the state are the Twin River locations at Lincoln and Tiverton. The new Tiverton venue opened its doors to punters at the beginning of September. With its 85,000 square foot casino and adjoining 84-room hotel it represents an investment of $140m in the local economy. It features 1,000 slot machines and 32 table games.
Talking at the launch about the boost in employment that the casino will bring, Governor Raimondo noted: “Any day we can celebrate the addition of good paying jobs in our state is a good day for Rhode Islanders. Today’s celebration is an important reminder that we must keep going to protect the investments we’ve made to revitalize our state. Our economy is stronger today than it’s been in decades, and I’ll keep working to create jobs and opportunity so every Rhode Islander is included.”