The suspension of major sporting events and a full month’s closure for Rhode Island’s land-based casinos badly affected the state’s sports betting market, with handle and revenue plummeting in April.
Amounts wagered fell 96.5% year-on-year to $591,377, with minimal contributions from the Twin River-owned Tiverton and Lincoln casinos – from wagers placed before the shutdown – complemented by a significantly lower mobile handle.
While there are no year-over-year comparisons, as mobile betting did not launch until September 2019, the channel’s $589,260 represents a 80.8% month-over-month drop. Players won back $561,058, leaving revenue of $27,202. This represents an 86.9% decline from March’s mobile revenue of $215,802.
Twin River Casino Lincoln reported $1,718 in stakes, with $2,525 to be paid out as winnings, resulting in a $807 loss for the month. The Tiverton casino, meanwhile, reported $399 in stakes, and customer win of $413, leaving the venue’s sportsbook down $14 for the month.
These losses meant that the state’s total sports betting revenue for the month amounted to $27,381, down 98.6% from April 2019.
The shutdown is nearing its end, however, with the Lincoln and Tiverton casinos to begin the first phase of their reopening process on June 8 – though each property’s sportsbook will remain closed for the time being.
Phase one will see entry to the venues limited to invitation only, with invitees selected from its Player’s Club loyalty programme, and allowed to bring one guest.
All guests will be required to bring their invitation, plus a form of photo identification and Player’s Club card, and are to undergo temperature checks before they are permitted to enter. During this phase, the venues will be limited to 25% capacity.
Patrons will be given color-coded wristbands, giving them access to one gaming room within the casino. They will be restricted to that area at all times during their visit.
“We are effectively creating three mini casinos under one roof,” Twin River noted.
In phase one, slot machines will be at least six feet apart from one another, while seating capacity for virtual table games will be limited. During this phase, each venue’s sportsbook, hotel, fitness center, table games, racebook, entertainment offerings and restaurants will remain closed.
These facilities and amenities would remain shuttered until Twin River can find ways to effectively address safety concerns, as all were offered in confined spaces, the operator said.
Each venue will be open from 10am to midnight each day, with property-wide cleaning beginning after closing.