LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — The numbers are in, and they’re not pretty.
The March 14 closure of Rhode Island’s two casinos caused a huge plunge in state revenue from the two facilities, according to data released Tuesday by the Rhode Island Lottery. Both casinos are operated by Twin River Worldwide Holdings.
State revenue from slot machines at Lincoln and the Tiverton casinos totaled $16.3 million in March, down 67% compared with the same month last year, when the slots brought in nearly $50 million.
State revenue from table games at the two facilities totaled $662,000 in March, compared with $1.5 million in February.
Sports betting revenue totaled just over $1 million in March, down from over $2.3 million in February. Online wagering — which has continued during the shutdown — performed slightly better, falling by about half compared with about two-thirds for in-person bets.
Gambling is Rhode Island’s third-largest source of state revenue, yielding roughly $400 million a year, and state leaders have made clear the ongoing closure of the casinos is exacerbating an already huge budget problem.
Gov. Gina Raimondo said last week she’s consulted with Nevada’s governor about how he is looking to reopen the Las Vegas casinos, and Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor indicated Monday discussions are ongoing about how to bring the facilities back online.
Raimondo is aiming to lift her stay-at-home order on May 9, beginning the gradual process of reopening the economy.
Shares of Twin River Worldwide, the casino operator, plunged on the New York Stock Exchange from $29.87 on Feb. 12 to a low of $7.65 on March 20 amid the broader market meltdown. The stock has since pared back some of the losses, closing at $14.93 on Tuesday.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook