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Casino closures hit Rhode Island betting market in December


The closure of Rhode Island’s two casinos for much of December led to the state’s sportsbook handle and revenue falling during the month. 

The Bally’s Corporation-owned venues were closed from 29 November to 21 December amid a surge in novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the state. 

Once they were permitted to resume operations, opening hours were limited to between 6am and 10pm from Sunday to Thursday, and until 10:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays. 

This had a significant impact on sports betting stakes, which declined to $22.8m, a 28.1% year-on-year decline, according to the latest figures from the Rhode Island Lottery.

This also represented 35.1% drop from November 2020’s $35.1m handle. 

After player winnings of $20.2m, this left gross revenue of $2.5m. While revenue was down only marginally compared to the prior year, it fell 59.7% month-over-month. 

Having been closed for much of December, Twin River saw stakes plummet 82.7% from the prior year, to $3.3m. Players won back $3.2m, leaving gross revenue of just $64,027. 

Tiverton Casino fared slightly better. While handle was down 71.4% from December 2019, player winnings of $933,147 left revenue of $237,676, down just 32.4% year-on-year. 

Mobile, on the other hand, posted growth in customer staking, though high payouts saw revenue fall from November. 

Amounts wagered via the channel were up 114.0% year-on-year to $18.3m – and 16.8% month-over-month. Players won back $16.1m, leaving revenue of $2.2m. While this represented a 263.7% improvement on the prior year, it was also a 14.3% sequential decline.