Rhode Island Sports Betting

Seemingly out of nowhere, Rhode Island became the seventh state to legalize sports betting. Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a budget bill on Jun. 22 that authorized wagering on sporting events.

Wagering got underway in the Ocean State in late November 2018. Within a week’s time, Rhode Island found itself with two operating sportsbooks.

Mobile sports betting

With each state that debuts sports betting, people always ask about whether mobile wagering is part of the plan. The short answer for Rhode Island is yes, it is.

State Senate President Dominick Ruggiero is the lead sponsor on a bill to allow mobile sports betting at the state’s two casinos. The bill, introduced on Jan. 3, is now on the Senate Calendar for February 12.

As written, the model proposed by Ruggiero would resemble the somewhat-onerous method used in Nevada. Nevada requires players register for sports betting app live and in-person at the resident casino for the app the player wants.

So, using this strategy is not ideal, particularly given the success of completely mobile operations in New Jersey. However, progress is progress, and it does seem like the ball is rolling in Rhode Island for mobile sports betting.

Retail sportsbooks

Both casinos in Rhode Island offer wagering on sports now. Those two properties are:

  • Twin River Casino Hotel
  • Tiverton Casino Hotel

Both casinos are owned by Twin River Holdings. William Hill powers the sports betting operations at both locations.

Twin River Casino Hotel

Twin River Casino in Lincoln is the larger of Rhode Island’s two casino properties. It features a casino floor spanning 162,000 square feet.

Within that space, there are 4,200 slot machines and 119 table games available for play. The sportsbook itself is on the second floor next to the Wicked Good Bar & Grill.

The facility features over 100 televisions, odds display boards, and a full bar and grill to serve its patrons. The Sportsbook Bar & Grill‘s hours of operation are:

  • Mon – Fri: 11:00 a.m. – midnight
  • Sat: 9:00 a.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Sun: 9:00 a.m. – 1 a.m. (midnight after March Madness)

Tiverton Casino Hotel

Tiverton Casino Hotel is the smaller of Rhode Island’s two properties. It is also a new property outright – the casino has only been open since Sep. 1, 2018.

Tiverton Casino Hotel is not a huge place; there’s only 33,600 square feet of gaming space. There are roughly 1,000 slot machines, 32 table games, and 18 hybrid stadium games.

The facility is small but serviceable. Its operating hours are:

  • Mon – Fri: 11:00 a.m. – midnight
  • Sat: 9:00 a.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Sun: 9:00 a.m. – 1 a.m. (midnight after March Madness)

Rhode Island Sports Betting FAQ

What sports can I bet in Rhode Island?

Pretty much everything. The only restrictions in the law apply to teams or games from Rhode Island. As it happens, these restrictions are similar to the exceptions in New Jersey.

Who can bet on sports in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island is one of the few states where the legal gambling age is 18. Therefore, anyone over the age of 18 can place wagers on sporting events.

Who will oversee sports betting in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island has a somewhat unique situation in terms of its governance. Since the state is small, it has partnered with gaming provider IGT and William Hill to help facilitate sports betting in the state.

In return, IGT negotiated with the state to receive a sizeable cut of sports betting revenue in the state. Officially, the Rhode Island Lottery represents the state in sports betting-related matters.

The division of any sports betting revenue in Rhode Island is as follows:

  • The state: 51 percent
  • IGT/William Hill: 32 percent
  • Casino: 17 percent

So, amazingly, the casinos in Rhode Island do not actually profit from sports betting activity nearly as much as in other states. However, this arrangement highlights the greater degree of mingling that the gaming properties and the state have with each other.

Rhode Island sports betting history

It seemed like Rhode Island came to the sports betting party out of nowhere. Its first bill didn’t appear until January 2018.

However, voters had previously approved broad referendums to legalize gambling in both 2012 and 2016. So, the door for sports betting was open wider than it seemed.

The January bill appeared with the sponsorship of several state senators. Raimondo immediately adopted the revenue implications of the bill as part of her budget.

Even though there was disagreement about the numbers in the budget, no legislator disagreed with sports betting’s inclusion in the ledger.

After the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, Rhode Island was the very first state to hold hearings about bringing sports betting to its residents and visitors. The Lottery immediately issued a request for proposal for the technical side of the practice, which is how the state ended up partnering with IGT.

After all that, Raimondo’s signature on Jun. 22 was the only remaining hurdle. Rhode Island sports betting became a thing on Nov. 27, 2018.

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