Five months after legalizing sports betting and nearly 60 days after the projected opening date, a group of lawmakers and a corporate executive placed the ceremonial first sports bet at Rhode Island’s Twin River Sportsbook on Monday. In so doing, Rhode Island became the sixth non-Nevada state post-PASPA to open up for legal sports betting, and the first in New England.
Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Speaker Nicholas Matiello and Twin River Worldwide Holdings Chairman John Taylor Jr. placed the first bets after making remarks.
The sportsbook officially opened at 3 p.m. local time with an opening ceremony — in time for Monday Night Football. Rhode Island has only two casinos, Twin River and Tiverton, both owned by the same company. The Tiverton sportsbook is scheduled to open in December.
Rhode Island Becomes First in New England to Offer Sports Betting as Twin River Casino Hotel Opens Sportsbook
Read more They’re Off: Rhode Island Becomes First New England State to Take Legal Sports Bets on SportsHandle.
Rhode Island lawmakers were counting on an immediate windfall of revenue from sports betting when they legalized sports wagering in June. But five months later, neither of the state’s two commercial casinos have opened their sportsbooks, and the projected opening date of Oct. 1 has come and gone.
Why? Testing of software is still ongoing, and negotiations between the state’s two casinos and William Hill and IGT, who will operate the sportsbooks, is taking longer than expected, according to Rhode Island Department of Revenue chief of information and public relations Paul Grimaldi.
“Our expectation is for sports betting to begin around Thanksgiving. I cannot give you a specific date today as it is dependent on the completion of testing of the IGT/William Hill sports betting software,” Grimaldi told Sports Handle in an e-mail Tuesday. “They released the software to the Division of Lottery on Nov. 5 We expect two weeks +/- for completion of the testing. The sportsbook will start taking bets once the software is certified.”
Read more Here’s Why Rhode Island Sports Betting’s Launch Is Delayed on SportsHandle.