With a botched launch of sports betting in the state, Rhode Island is now looking strongly into online sportsbooks. Vendors IGT and Twin River had planned for revenue of $23.5 million, but that was downgraded significantly to just $11.5 million due to a late 2018 launch. That figure is potentially going to decrease once again.
Issues at Twin River Sportsbook per the slow processing of bets, led Senate President Dominick Ruggerio to provide the following statement:
“The new in-person sportsbook that opened in November has been very popular, with lines stretching out the doors,” said President Ruggerio. “It is an entertainment option that many Rhode Islanders enjoy, and visitors from outside the state are also flocking to our gaming facilities to place their wagers on sporting events. Expanding to mobile gaming would provide a convenient option for those wishing to enjoy this form of entertainment, and open up the economic benefits beyond the walls of Twin River. I can envision a group of friends from out-of-state spending an evening out in a local establishment where they can both watch the game and place a wager.”
The spokesperson for Ruggerio, Greg Pare, also chimed in saying, “The Senate President shares the frustration of consumers regarding long lines and wait times for sports wagering at Twin River. He has expressed these concerns both publicly and Twin River officials. New Kiosks are expected to be active in March, which will help alleviate backups, as will mobile sports gaming should his legislation be approved.”
Rhode Island Online Sportsbook Legal Issues?
House Minority Leader Blake Filippi questions if the expansion to an app is legal. “The preliminary and central question is whether this proposal is even constitutional. The People through ballot a question approved casino gambling at Twin River in Lincoln, and subsequently, in Tiverton. To start, the proponents need to produce a well-reasoned legal opinion regarding this proposal’s legality,” said Filippi.
Under Ruggerio’s bill, consumers would be able to bet online with the Twin River establishment. The only catch is that they need to set up their accounts initially at Twin River and must be within the confines of the state.
The state would also continue to receive 51 percent of all winnings when it comes to Rhode Island sports betting, which is by far the highest rates in the country.
“Revenue from sports gaming supports critical state services, like road and bridge repairs, education and human services. This revenue offsets reliance on taxes for state needs,” said President Ruggerio. “It is estimated that 97 percent of sports betting takes place illegally. This is an opportunity to give Rhode Islanders and visitors a legal avenue to participate in an activity they enjoy, while providing a very tangible benefit to our state.” With Mass. Sports Betting coming any day, Rhode Island needs move quickly.
States With Legal Sports Betting USA
LEGAL & ACTIVE LEGAL, AWAITING LAUNCH POSSIBLE 2019 LAUNCH