A law legalizing sports betting in Rhode Island recently passed, under which the state will receive 51% of sports betting revenues. Two major partners have now been announced: IGT and William Hill.
Gambling sector in Rhode Island
Rhode Island is the smallest state in area in the United States, but it is the second most densely populated.
Betting on horse races has been legal since the 1930s, and the state lottery has been in existence since the 1970s. Over time, the two horse racing tracks were transformed by the addition of slot machines.
It seemed as if the next logical step for the state was fully legalizing casinos, but a bill to do so was voted down in 1994. However, pushes were continually made to allow casinos because millions of dollars were going to the Foxwoods Casino in the neighbor state of Massachusetts.
Table games were finally given the green light on Rhode Island in 2012. Daily fantasy sports and online casinos are still not allowed, but the state has embraced sports betting.
There are currently three casinos in the state with more than 6,700 gaming and slot machines and more than 120 table games among them.
Recent sports betting approval
Sports betting was legalized in Rhode Island on June 20. The law provided that the state would receive 51% of all sports betting revenues and it was expected that sports betting would not go live until the start of October.
Other New England states have not yet legalized sports betting, so Rhode Island is hoping to cement its position in the market before its neighbors have the chance.
There is no provision for online sports betting, so it will have to be done inside one of the state’s three casinos. This could work against the state if the likes of Connecticut and Massachusetts decide to have an online offering.
The Rhode Island Lottery has been designated to regulate sports betting in the state.
When the high tax rate of 51% was announced, it led to fear that it would do little to overcome the illegal operators who are already offering their services in the state because many of the casinos may not invest a whole lot of money in their sports betting promos, etc., since half their revenue is being taken right off the bat.
New partners announced
The Rhode Island Lottery was tasked with selecting partners to create sportsbooks in the state.
International Game Technology (IGT) has been selected, being a leader in gaming machines and innovative systems in the sector, along with the well-known bookmaker from the United Kingdom, William Hill. They will work together to provide an all-encompassing service for sports betting in Rhode Island.
This partnership will initially last for five years. The aim is to have sports betting offered at both the Twin River Casino and the new Tiverton Casino Hotel by mid-November.
A provision could see this partnership to be extended for as long as two consecutive terms of five years. IGT’s role will be to provide the gaming platform while William Hill will be in charge of risk management and the operational side.
Six states have now legalized sports betting. Mississippi, New Jersey, and Delaware are the only ones that have successfully opened their sports betting offerings, while Pennsylvania and West Virginia are creating regulations for the sector.
William Hill and IGT appear likely to benefit handsomely from the opening of the sports betting market in the United States. They are already on board with other operators across the country, and this will only continue as more and more states legalize sports betting.