Rhode Island’s sports betting roadblocks to cost $5 million

ESTIMATES of gambling revenue have been tempered on Rhode Island as the delay in implementing a regulated sports betting industry carry on.

Other USA states are reaping the rewards of huge tax windfalls as they plunge headfirst into sports betting, after the decision to repeal the PASPA ruling which effectively banned the activity, barring several exemptions.

But Rhode Island is estimating that it will lose around USD $5 million in taxes by failing to launch the sports betting industry this year, unlike New Jersey which is reaping the rewards of being a first-mover.

State budget writers added $23.5 million to the fiscal 2018-2019 budget to be generated from Twin River Casino after lawmakers approved gambling on sports at the casino this summer.

However, figures from the twice-annual Revenue Estimating Conference last Friday shows analysts have cut down the projected budget by $12 million due to the rescheduling of the launch from October 1 to “around Thanksgiving”.

Estimated business tax collected from gambling operations for the year ending June 30, 2019, was cut to $22.9 million, which was down by around $4.9 million on previous forecasts.

Sales tax collections saw an upward adjustment to $10 million, while total gambling revenue went up $7.9 million thanks to winnings from slot machines and table games.

State governor, Gina Raimondo will use the currently approved revenue estimates for her next budget proposal, in January.

State revenues for next year are expected to exceed the estimated $4 billion, to $4.1 billion up from $3.9 billion in this year’s budget.

“I am pleased to see our revenue estimates are mostly holding this year and staying strong for next year,” House Finance Committee chairman, Marvin Abney said.

“We will continue to keep an eye on items with the greatest uncertainty, like sports betting, which has been delayed several weeks.”

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