Welcome to RI’s Next Wild Wild West - Sports Betting

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


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Coming soon to RI

In the short-term, Governor Gina Raimondo’s budget is dependent on sports betting to the tune of $23.5 million. Rhode Island’s estimate is based on data produced a year ago by a gambling industry-funded research group. 

RI’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jonathan Womer said he believes Rhode Island can implement a sports betting program faster than Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“We think we can beat our neighbors to market,” said Womer in an interview on Tuesday night.

But, when asked about other Rhode Island failed or delayed technology rollouts such as UHIP, the Division of Motor Vehicles, and the most recently delayed truck toll gantries.

On Tuesday, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung “implored” Senators to scrutinize the Raimondo administration's pie-in-the-sky expectations in regards to the financial windfall. 

"Much like her highway tolls, Raimondo is rolling the dice on unrealistic numbers to plug her numerous budget holes," Mayor Fung said.  "While Raimondo's Chief of Revenue Analysis tweeted in response to this article 'Go Big or Go Home', Rhode Islanders deserve a budget that is based on realistic numbers & expectations."

Womer also outlined that we are at the very beginning of a long process. He told GoLocal that in the future could be expanded to include online gaming.

Gamblers will be able to wager on pro and college games — but Rhode Islanders will be barred from betting on Rhode Island college teams both home and away, but nothing will limit Rhode Islanders from betting on URI v PC or Bryant v Brown Basketball games in MA or CT.

 Some of the assumptions state officials are using to estimate the state’s revenue are:

The Oxford Economic study estimates annual RI sports betting handle (total bets) between $654.6 and $972.5 million. RI used the midpoint ($818.6 million) to generate estimates.

•             Assumed hold (% left after winnings) of 5.5%

•             Data from Nevada indicates that 86% of betting occurs between October and June; used this to pro-rate an October 1 anticipated start date

•             Assumed similar state share as video lottery terminals (VLTs)


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