Days after becoming the eighth state to take legal wagers, Rhode Island sports betting will add a second sportsbook Monday.
Twin River will open the sportsbook at the recently opened Tiverton Casino Hotel today. The facility joins the company’s Lincoln property to expand Twin River sports betting to both state casinos.
Twin River Casino, in Lincoln, started the first phase of its sportsbook a week ago. The launch came a few weeks after first anticipated, but Rhode Island sports betting still went active only months after PASPA‘s fall.
Rhode Island sports betting closes 2018
The Ocean State appears likely to be the last to start a legal sports betting operation this year. That comes as a minor surprise considering how early the state green-lighted Twin River sports betting.
The state legislature approved Rhode Island sports betting rather swiftly this summer at the request of Gov. Gina Raimondo. The governor included RI sports betting in her budget for the coming fiscal year with a revenue projection of more than $23 million.
The state lottery will operate Rhode Island sports betting, though, and finding an industry partner did not come easily. Combined with Twin River’s plans to merge with Dover Downs announced in late summer, Rhode Island waited to launch.
Only one answer to RI’s call for bids
IGT became the lone bidder to partner with the state on Twin River sports betting. Eighteen companies showed some interest, but only IGT, which already powers the state lottery, offered. IGT began working with the RI lottery 15 years ago.
William Hill backs the day-to-day operation of Rhode Island sports betting in Lincoln and Tiverton. In the small state, sports betting revenue distribution breaks down as follows:
- State: 51 percent
- IGT: 32 percent
- Casino: 17 percent
Whether that sharing arrangement functions as a partnership or a high effective tax can be debated. It certainly allows the state to maximize its benefit from Twin River sports betting.
A smaller pie to slice
Even so, the delayed launch of RI sports betting forced state analysts to slash Raimondo’s originally forecasted revenue in half. The Lincoln sportsbook launched with just a quarter of the NFL season remaining and only college football’s bowl season active for wagering.
Tiverton Casino Hotel opened in September to serve the southern portion of Rhode Island, as well as southeastern Massachusetts. The Lincoln property presents a shorter drive for Boston-area residents, who likely will add to the Rhode Island sports betting handle.
Rhode Island legislators did not include mobile or online sports betting in their legislation. Limiting wagering to the two retail facilities artificially caps revenue growth potential, but such will be the case for the tiny New England state for now.