Sports betting is finally coming to Rhode Island. On Wednesday, Twin River Casino in Lincoln announced it will begin taking sports wagers on Monday, November 26th. The Twin River Tiverton location will also be joining the action in short order with its sportsbook scheduled for a December launch.
The permanent Twin River Sportsbook is still under construction on the third floor, but casino representatives have told local media outlets that the first wagers will be accepted at 3 PM on Monday at a temporary location on the second floor.
Early photos of the permanent sportsbook show tables and chairs located on the main sportsbook floor, stadium-style seating around the perimeter and banks of TV screens along the walls.
Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio will be on-hand to participate in an opening ceremony beginning at 3 PM on Monday. There, he will be joined by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Twin River chairman John Taylor as they place the first “ceremonial” bets.
They haven’t yet said what they’ll be betting on, but Twin River officials said all winnings placed during the opening ceremony will be donated to a charity of the winners’ choosing.
Rhode Island sports betting was formally legalized back in June after Governor Gina Raimondo signed a budget into law that included a provision legalizing betting at brick-and-mortar casinos.
Online betting was not included in the bill, although that does remain a possibility should voters approve a state-wide referendum approving online wagers. However, state officials have made it clear in recent months that the primary focus right now is on a successful launch of in-person sports betting.
In the meantime, Rhode Island casinos will be limited to betting on-premises via teller windows at the sportsbook, betting kiosks and mobile wagers for customers physically present on casino property.
Previously, Twin River stated it plans to launch self-service kiosks roughly 14 weeks after the launch of in-person betting. That timeline puts the launch of betting kiosks sometime around early March. Mobile wagering on casino property is expected to take place another 15 weeks after that, which would place the start of mobile wagering sometime around mid-June.
Delayed Launch and Revised Expectations
Rhode Island officials originally planned a launch date of October 1st but were forced to delay those plans as discussions between the state and its betting services providers (IGT and William Hill) ran longer than expected.
The new start date has resulted in Rhode Island missing the bulk of the NFL season, which in turn has resulted in revised revenue projections. While the state originally predicted sports betting would generate $23.5 million in revenue for the state over the first year, those projections have since been tampered down to $11.5 million.
The launch of sports betting on Monday will make Rhode Island the sixth state to commence sports betting. Nine states in total have passed laws to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court overturned the federal sports betting ban in May. If we count Nevada, which has had legal sports betting for decades, that makes it 10 states in total with legal sports betting laws now on the books.