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Sports betting to open Monday in R.I.

by: Patrick Anderson - posted on: 22-Nov-2018

LINCOLN, R.I. — Gamblers will be able to wager on sports — legally — in Rhode Island starting Monday afternoon at Twin River Casino.

Newly enabled by the U.S. Supreme Court, state lawmakers earlier this year legalized casino-based sports betting and, after a series of delays, Twin River on Wednesday announced a Monday launch date and 3 p.m. ceremonial first bet by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Twin River Worldwide Holdings Chairman John Taylor Jr.

Members of the general public will be able to risk their paychecks on college and professional athletes moments later.

The General Assembly legalized wagering on all manner of athletic contests, except for those happening in the state or involving Rhode Island-based teams, at Twin River’s casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton.

While betting is set to launch in Lincoln on Monday, wagers at the new Tiverton casino are still at least two weeks off.

The launch will take place in a third-floor simulcasting space in the Lincoln casino while Twin River works on building out a sports betting lounge on the second floor.

Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle said many of the more exotic wagers the betting parlor plans to offer will not be ready right away, but be added in over time. Twin River will initially offer bets on United States-based games, she said, with international competitions such as English Premier League soccer coming later.

The state estimates getting $11.5 million in new revenue from sports betting between Monday and the end of the current fiscal year on June 30 — significantly less than the original, $23.5-million projection that was based on an Oct. 1 launch date. With a full year of wagering, the state is expecting $27.3 million in revenue next fiscal year.

Those state revenue estimates were based on an expectation that gamblers would wager $814 million on sports at the two Twin River casinos annually. The state gets 51 percent of the house take of sports wagers. Twin River will get 17 percent with IGT, which is running the betting along with bookmaker William Hill, taking 32 percent.