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Volume 25 No. 155

Gambling

The launch of sports betting in Rhode Island has "been delayed and tax collections are running under budget," with new estimates predicting the state will take in around $5M less in revenue this year than "initially budgeted," according to Patrick Anderson of the PROVIDENCE JOURNAL. When lawmakers authorized sports betting at the state's casinos this summer, budget writers added $23.5M "from that business" into the FY '18-19 budget. But the launch "has been pushed back from Oct. 1 to 'around Thanksgiving,' and on Friday analysts cut that total" by $12M (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 11/12). In Boston, Andy Rosen writes allowing sports betting in casinos is a "cautious first step," as Rhode Island this year "won’t allow remote betting from computers and phones." However, in '19 gamblers "who are at Rhode Island casinos will be able to wager from their devices." Rhode Island also will "begin with relatively few betting options," with the state's casinos "not yet prepared to take 'prop bets.'" Those restrictions "could make it harder to attract the legions of sports betting enthusiasts who are already gambling illegally on their phones via a robust black market of bookmakers and offshore websites." Because the state "missed its planned opening date of Oct. 1, Rhode Island lost out on revenue from the World Series, the start of the NBA and the NHL seasons, and the bulk of the year’s NFL games." Rhode Island’s competitive advantage on legal sports betting "may diminish after lawmakers in neighboring states resume debate on the issue next year" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/12).