Long-delayed RI Sports Betting About To Kick Off

Rhode Island Sports Betting Set To Make Debut At Twin River Lincoln Around Thanksgiving

Rhode Island sports betting

Barring any more unforeseen setbacks, Rhode Island sports betting at Twin River Casino in Lincoln will debut in time for turkey.

“Sports betting at Twin River will begin around Thanksgiving,” Patti Doyle, spokeswoman for Twin River told LSR.

Doyle also said sports betting at Tiverton Hotel and Casino will follow shortly thereafter.

RI sports betting a long time coming

Rhode Island sports betting arrived this year thanks to both Governor Gina Raimondo and the state legislature. Raimondo included legal sports betting revenue in her budget and legislators met the request with little fanfare.

The state lottery will operate Rhode Island sports betting in partnership with IGT and William Hill. IGT — the lone bidder — will be the official partner of both sportsbooks, while William Hill provides odds and services.

The parties originally planned a launch date of October 1Paul Grimaldi, spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, told the Providence Journal that “complex negotiation” among all parties slowed the process.

What to expect at Twin River

According to Doyle, the Lincoln property will build its sportsbook operation in a phased rollout.

“Phase one will be on the third floor, where we have simulcast,” Doyle said.

A more interactive, lounge-like sportsbook will be built on the second floor, which should open in early to mid-December.

“It will have more screens, seating and just a different feel than the third floor,” Doyle said.

Rhode Island sports betting expectations

The Department of Revenue expects state revenue from sports betting to hover around $23.5 million for the current fiscal year which ends on June 30, 2019.

Despite the later start date, Grimaldi told the Journal the state will stick with its initial revenue projection.

“It’s really too early to revise,” Grimaldi said. “We need to get it started and see how the bettors react. Let’s hope for a long run for the Patriots and if the Celtics and the Bruins have good season, this could be good.”

Here’s the breakdown of how Rhode Island sports betting revenue will be distributed:

  • State: 51 percent
  • IGT: 32 percent
  • Casino: 17 percent

Rhode Island sports betting still could have a first-mover advantage in the Northeast with a November start. New York failed to pass a sports betting bill in 2018, while Connecticut‘s tribal negotiations will push its launch into 2019. Pennsylvania has approved multiple sports betting applicants but none have launched yet.

Massachusetts remains a possibility for a sports betting law in 2019. DraftKings reportedly will make a concerted push to legalize sports betting in the state of its headquarters. Prospects for passage are uncertain at best.

Nicholaus Garcia
- Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.