The Ocean State becomes the eighth state where sports betting is legal.
Rhode Island sports betting is officially underway, as the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI is the first Rhode Island sportsbook to offer sports betting as of November 26 at 3pm. The first bets will be placed at Twin River sportsbook in an opening ceremony by Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and the chairman of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, John Taylor. The Sportsbook Rhode Island is expected to have online sports betting, SportsBetRI, in the near future.
The Rhode Island sportsbook signals the eighth state in the United States to accept legal sports wagering, joining New Jersey sports betting and Pennsylvania sports betting, as well as Nevada, Delaware, Mississippi, New Mexico and West Virginia sports betting. The Twin River Management Group owns Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI, which is currently the only Rhode Island sportsbook where players can place bets, while that same management group owns Tiverton Casino Hotel, located in Tiverton, RI, which will have sports betting in Rhode Island during December.
Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio hoped RI sports betting would launch on Oct. 1, but negotiations with a sports betting services vendor took longer than they had anticipated. With the near-three-month delay, the expected revenue was cut by $12 million after missing revenue from NFL bets at the beginning of the football season, and bets that would have been placed during the MLB postseason, especially the World Series. Ruggerio commented that he was pleased that sports betting would finally be available after this lengthy delay, adding, "Sports gaming provides the state with revenue that offsets reliance on taxes to support essential state services, such as education and fixing roads and bridges."
Speaking of sports betting revenue for the state, the revenue sharing breakdown has been released to the public, as the state of Rhode Island receives the largest chunk at 51 percent of the revenue. IGT/William Hill (the RI sports betting services provider) receives 32 percent and the Twin River Casino receives 17 percent. Provider William Hill has experience in the US sports-betting market, as shown by the success of William Hill NJ sportsbook.
So how will Rhode Island sports betting go down in the state? Here's what to expect if you're heading to the Ocean State to place as sports bet. Twin River Casino is currently in Phase 1 of their sports betting offering, as you'll purchase a ticket at the counter and sit among odds boards built into the facility as part of the original racing track. Currently, you will be able to bet on sports games and horses in this area, however, a 3,600 square foot sports lounge will soon make it much easier for sports bettors to place their wagers. This will include hundreds of televisions and comfortable seating that will create more of a social environment. This second phase is expected to open in mid-December.
Rhode Island can possibly become the destination for players in the Northeast to bet on sports, as it's currently the only state in New England to have legal sports betting at land-based casinos. With PA sports betting recently going live and WV sports betting having FanDuel Sportsbook opening inside The Greenbrier, look out for new sportsbooks (and hopefully new states) offering both both in-person sports betting and online sports betting.