Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States, measuring just over 1,200 hundred square miles. However, its residents will be looking to hit it big when online casinos launch in March.
Explore the intricacies of this potential launch and its potential implications for the top-rated online sportsbooks.
Rhode Island Department of Revenue (RIDOR) spokesperson Paul Grimaldi confirmed the scheduled launch date, but little else.
He did mention that the next meeting of the legislative lottery committee is scheduled for February 19, unless there’s a one-day delay due to a holiday. During this meeting, the launch is expected to be a topic of discussion, with the lottery director providing additional details to committee members.
Live Dealers Require Online in Rhode Island
The launch date has been a long time coming since Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed the online casino bill into law last June.
Some were hoping to play at the beginning of the year but that was not the case. So, hearing that March 1 is the target date at least gives residents a day to look forward to.
Everything from online blackjack to poker and slots is now legal in the Ocean State.
However, there’s a twist. The law mandates that:
- A live dealer must take part in all online table games.
- A live dealer must be in place and streamed via a simulcast (meaning that bets are technically placed in a casino location).
- Online table games are available only to those over the age of 21.
Bally’s Monopoly Expanding
With its population of just over 1 million, the state won’t be providing licenses to multiple operators.
Instead, the new law not only gives Bally’s more control but also broadens its monopoly.
Bally’s has been running two local casinos in partnership with the lottery for quite some time. They have exclusive rights to operate in the state through their properties, Twin River and Twin River-Tiverton. Furthermore, IGT, the official vendor, will also be able to access gaming proposals in Rhode Island.
It’s worth noting that Bally’s expanded its services to include both traditional and online sports betting in 2018 and 2019. This move made Rhode Island the sixth state to legalize such activities after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) era.
State to Benefit Monetarily
Back in June, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio released a statement supporting online casinos in Rhode Island. “This legislation provides an added convenience to Rhode Islanders who would like to play the existing table games offered at Twin River via their mobile devices,” Ruggerio said. “It helps ensure the continued strength of the state facilities in the competitive regional gaming market, and in so doing protects an important revenue stream that provides funding for vital state programs and investments.”
The state will get 61% of the revenue generated by online slots and 15.5% from online table games.
Sounds like lawmakers have already hit the jackpot.