Summary: Eight states now have operating sports books in the US as Rhode Island began this week via Twin River Casino.
Sports betting is booming in the United States as casinos across the nation begin offering the new activity thanks to a ruling from earlier in the year by the US Supreme Court. Several states started quickly with the new industry including New Jersey and Delaware. This week, Rhode Island became the 8th state to launch sports betting services, as the Twin River Casino of Lincoln started offering services.
The Twin River Casino was supposed to begin offering sports betting on October 1st but were delayed in launching their sportsbook. It would take another two months almost before the casino was ready to begin. On Monday, the sportsbook was open for business with several big wigs on hand to throw out the ceremonial first bet. At the event was John Taylor, the Chairman of Twin River, as well as Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Speaker of the House, Nicholas Mattiello.
With the new industry, the state will be able to receive 51% of revenues with the vendor earning 32% and the casino keeping 17%. The sports betting facility at Twin River is located on the third floor of the casino where players have been able to wager on greyhound and horse races for many years. The racino underwent a $100,000 renovation phase in the existing area to change it to add sports betting terminals as well as update the area.
The space now includes televisions that have been mounted to the countertops of the facility as well as on the wall. Customers of the sportsbook can place wagers on games involving Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League along with the NCAA sports teams. However, teams located in Rhode Island are excluded from wagering.
In the future, the Twin River sportsbook will offer even more, if plans fall into place. The property hopes to provide hand-held devices that can be used to place wagers. The venue has plans to create a second phase of their sports book experience by spending $1.5 million to create a 3,600 square feet space for sports betting that will include 100 television screens. The area will also be home to a bar and food and beverage area.
John Taylor, the Chairman of Twin River, commented on the upcoming next phase by stating:
Phase 2 is where the market is heading. It will be a comfortable place where guests can come in and make a bet, sit down on couches, have a beer and enjoy themselves.
Mr. Ruggerio, the Senate President for the state, commented as well, stating that he has waited 40 years for this day and he is confident that sports betting will help to provide Rhode Island with a steady stream of new revenue that will be helpful for initiatives that lawmakers are hoping to accomplish in 2019.
The state will look ahead with the new industry, set to offer online and mobile wagering, probably by the summer. It is expected that this side of wagering will begin with the new fiscal year. It is important to include online wagering as players want to be able to use their mobile device to place bets. With mobile and online offerings, the state will be able to bring in even more revenues that are much-needed.