Rhode Island continues to generate good overall turnover through sports betting. One of the smallest jurisdictions accepting sports wagers, Rhode Island has concluded a successful first month of sports betting.
Rhode Island’s December Sports Betting Results
Rhode Island posted solid results for December, with the state amassing $13 million in the first full month since it legalized the activity. Revenue was just shy of $1 million at $957,900 with customers having had the opportunity to place wagers at Twin River Casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton.
Of the two properties, it was Lincoln’s venue which amassed the bulk of the sports betting handle, accepting $11.1 million in sports handle in December. The casino paid out back $10.3 million in winnings, which left it at gross $843,700 in proceedings.
Tiverton began operation several days later, on December 3, 2018, with the handle reaching $2 million over the period and $1.9 million paid back to customers. Tiverton’s property grossed $123,000 for the month.
The first four days of legal sports betting had gamers place as much as $682,000. The industry was originally legalized in June, but Rhode Island took until longer to launch its operations. An initial start date was deferred from October to late November.
Rhode Island and Mobile Sports Betting – A Possibility
President of the Senate Dominick Ruggerio announced plans that he would seek plans to legalize mobile sports betting on the territory of Rhode Island. An official bill was submitted on January 16, highlighting the benefits of the industry:
The new, in-person sportsbook that opened in November has been very popular, with lines stretching out the doors. It is an entertainment option that many Rhode Islanders enjoy, and visitors from outside the state are also flocking to our gaming facilities to place their wagers on sporting events.
The bill also sought to explain why expanding online would give Rhode Island a competitive edge over states which may have a larger population:
Expanding to mobile gaming would provide a convenient option for those wishing to enjoy this form of entertainment, and open up the economic benefits beyond the walls of Twin River. I can envision a group of friends from out-of-state spending an evening out in a local establishment where they can both watch the game and place a wager.
This bill is conflicting with a national referendum that specifies that all sports betting should take place in authorized locations.
Mobile Betting in Time of Looming DoJ Restrictions
With the decision of the Department of Justice to reverse a previous interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961, future sports betting could be hindered. For instance, creating inter-state betting options will be difficult, as it’ll be within DoJ’s remit to shut down such activities on a federal level.
DoJ will have limited powers to intervene on state-per-state basis, as it will almost certainly trigger litigation, although some suspect that there’s been a strong lobbyism against online gaming and DoJ’s representatives now lean heavily against the industry.