Just 35.2% Of RI Mobile Sign-Ups Can Place A Bet
Legal Sports Report

Will Rhode Island Sports Betting Ever Overcome In-Person Requirement?

Rhode Island sports betting

The latest customer figures for Rhode Island sports betting continue to highlight the limitations of an in-person registration requirement.

Of the 23,564 mobile registrations through March 4, just 43.3%, or 10,209, have gone to one of the state’s two Twin River casinos to complete the registration process.

There are currently four states that require in-person registration for an online sports betting account:

  • Iowa
  • Nevada
  • Rhode Island
  • Illinois (not yet live online)

Neither Twin River, which operates the state’s casinos on behalf of the state lottery, nor the RI Department of Revenue, would comment on the story.

Where’s that program, Rhode Island?

Twin River said in January that it was working on a program called the next evolution of the RI sports betting project.

The program was intended to boost in-person registration and was slated to launch by mid-January.

That program was still in the planning phase as of March 6, a spokesperson said.

Online market share totals for sports betting

Online share for the three live in-person registration states is the lowest in the country out of the seven states that offer both retail and online betting.

Rhode Island sports betting’s online share in January remained the lowest in the country at 28.9%. That improved to 31.7% in February, according to the Department of Revenue. But both figures are still significantly lower than Nevada’s 49% online share in January.

Iowa reported a 66.4% online share for February.

Those are all notably lower than open online states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with both nearing a 90% mobile share in January. Indiana reported a 77.9% share for February, while West Virginia had a 69.3% online share for the four-week period ending on Feb. 29.

More Rhode Island sports betting figures

The 10,209 customers completing the in-person registration don’t tell the full story for sports betting in Rhode Island.

Only 8,296 customers funded their accounts. That means the conversion rate from starting the mobile sign-up process to an account that can place a bet is actually 35.2%.

That’s lower than the 37.4% of accounts that were funded as of Dec. 2.

The state had 1.1 million online bets as of March 4 since the mobile app launched in September. From launch through January, online handle was $34.1 million, or just 21.4%.

Recent trends positive but still work to be done

Total online wagers through March 4 are about $43.5 million. That suggests around $9 million in online handle for February, which would make it the state’s best online month yet.

Through the first four days of March, online share was 33.2%, according to the Department of Revenue. That share was 34.8% in the week of Feb. 24 through March 1, which was the highest weekly online share yet for the state.

While those are improvements, Rhode Island remains far behind the other states at those rates. And competition has only gotten tougher with New Hampshire now vying for market share in Boston as well.

RI much slower to 1 million mobile bets than NH

New Hampshire’s mobile-only sportsbook through DraftKings Sportsbook has taken off much faster than Rhode Island’s mobile book.

DraftKings took its 1 millionth bet Feb. 8, 41 days after launching Dec. 30. Since the state is mobile-only, all DraftKings Sportsbook sign-ups are completed remotely through the app.

Rhode Island’s, meanwhile, came on Feb. 17, 167 days after launch.

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- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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