Rhode Island loses $900,000 on sports betting in February

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Maybe legalized gambling won’t be the easy money that most state governments think it will be.

Via the Associated Press, Rhode Island lost $900,000 on sports betting in February.

Since adopting wagering in November 2018, Rhode Island has turned a profit of only $150,000, putting the state far behind its $11.5 million projection through June 30.

With the Patriots being the local betting option of choice and the local team covering the spread in Super Bowl LIII, it’s no surprise that Rhode Island took a bath in February. It’s one of the basic realities of state-by-state betting, where hearts tend to rule wallets and, consequently, the bets skew the action toward the geographically favored team. Adjusting the betting lines to reflect that reality, however, will open the door for more dispassionate gamblers to load up on the non-local team, creating potentially easy money.

That’s why sports books in every state that legalizes gambling ultimately will loathe the nearby teams and love their rivals. And if/when a local team develops a consistent ability to cover, the state in question will have a very hard time making as much money as it could from wagering.

Over time, the house tends to win. But there will be short-term pain for every state-turned-house when the home team ends up being better than expected, allowing folks whose assessment of the betting line is skewed by their rooting interests to win money that otherwise would make its way into the governmental coffers.

Short of taking local teams off the board entirely, it’s a risk that most states that choose to embrace gambling will have to bear.

16 responses to “Rhode Island loses $900,000 on sports betting in February

  1. Haha that’s awesome. Could have made 20x that much if they passed “Pot for Potholes” bill years ago but missed the boat. Sadly, my home state can’t get anything right. Thank god for the beach and the seafood!

  2. Well they also handed Curt Schilling millions of dollars to run a stupid video game company, so I’m not surprised they can’t figure this out either.

  3. As a resident of Rhode Island, I can affirm the only time we ever make news is when it involves negativity or corruption. Hell, half the people in the country couldn’t even find us on a map!

  4. Hilarious.. I’m a life long Rhode Islander and we have a horribly run state with massive deficits and a long-standing history of government corruption. Criminal corruption. You’d think being such a tiny state would make our ability to operate seamless, right? Turns out it’s quite the opposite.

    Legalizing gambling was seen as a potential windfall for such a cash-strapped state. We are a place in DIRE need of new revenue streams. So it’s laughably typical that our citizens outsmarted the state to a tune of $1million in a month.

    Perhaps I should just move to Milwaukee and be done with this mess. Really sad because this is a gorgeous state with tons of potential.

  5. Haha that’s awesome! The state could have made 20x that with the “Pot for Potholes” bill but they missed the boat. Sadly my home state can’t get anything right. Thank god for the beaches and the seafood.

  6. They couldn’t wait to legalize sports gambling in RI and started working to do so the moment the ban was overturned. There are commercials on TV constantly for the Twin Rivers sports books.

  7. You don’t have to take the Patriots off the boards. Just make then like 25 point favorites and you will see lots of money bet against them. That’s bookmaking 101.

  8. That lousy corrupt state couldn’t get out of its own way!! What do you want when it’s run by DEMOCRAPS!!
    Loser govt. gave Schilling almost 100 million, which they got back pennies on the dollar. So happy I left there many years ago.

  9. Does Rhode island not understand how bookmaking works? The house doesn’t gamble…they should be off loading unbalanced bets onto other casinos.

    Also, who cares if the state juices the home team and invites smart money on the other side. As long as the book is balanced, they walk away with 5% of the carry. This isn’t rocket science.

  10. Rhode Island is a corrupt state . It would not surprise me if some politician stole the money. Perhaps the state should become more business friendly to create jobs instead of relying on peoples weakness to support their budget.

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