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Patriots' win a losing proposition for R.I. casinos

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Bettors placed $6.5 million in Super Bowl-related wagers at Rhode Island’s two casinos and pocketed nearly $2.4 million in winnings, the Rhode Island Lottery announced.

The state lost money on the game, though the lottery didn’t say how much.

When all the wagers were settled, William Hill, which operates the fledgling sports books at Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Tiverton Casino Hotel in Tiverton, paid out more than it kept, Paul Grimaldi, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, confirmed Wednesday.

“The state takes 51 percent of that loss,” Grimaldi said in an email.

A total of 50,977 bets were placed on some aspect of Sunday’s game, in which the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3. More than three-quarters of the gamblers who bet on the point spread took the favored Patriots, who easily “covered” the 2.5-point spread. Winning bettors get their original wager back, minus a transaction fee, in addition to their winnings.

“Some people made the very safe bet that the Pats would win — with no points involved,” Grimaldi said, referring to what’s known as a “money line” bet. “Others won ‘parlays’ that coupled bets on the Super Bowl with bets on games in other sports.”

Sports books in New Jersey reportedly lost $4.5 million on the Super Bowl, largely due to heavy betting on the Patriots.

“The Super Bowl proved to be great advertising for this new gaming amenity and a powerful test of the sports book being run by IGT-William Hill on behalf of the R.I. Lottery,” Grimaldi said in a statement. “We expect that many first-time visitors are happy with the service and the results.

“We have a lot of happy customers who we expect will be recirculating their winnings throughout the Rhode Island economy in the days and weeks ahead,” he said.

Sports betting began Nov. 26 at Twin River and Dec. 3 at Tiverton Casino Hotel.


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