History Behind Legal Sports Betting in Rhode Island
Rhode Island is one of 20 states in America that allows people to bet on sports. Sports betting was voted to be legalized in the state in 2012 and 2016.
These were two referendums that authorized the construction of two casinos as well as sports betting. Taken together, they form the gambling structure of present-day Rhode Island.
Rhode Island was the eighth state in America to officially offer sports betting to people within its borders. Like many other states, it had an action plan together when the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional.
PASPA was passed in 1992, and this was the act that banned legalized sports betting in the United States.
Just months after PASPA was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2018, Rhode Island officially legalized sports betting in land-locked locations. The original law passed by the Rhode Island legislature limited sports betting to the state’s two casinos.
Even though Rhode Island is small and accessible, the state realized that this was a mistake. It wasn’t reaping the benefit of legalized sports betting as many other states had seen since the PASPA ruling.
In March of 2019, the state signed a law into effect that legalized mobile sports betting.
Rhode Island now has one betting app for players to utilize. It’s sponsored by the state lottery and powered by William Hill. The app is called Sportsbook RI, and it has been able to attract a lot of players that weren’t frequent bettors at the state’s two landlocked sportsbooks.
The only requirements for app usage are that a person is 18 years of age and within the state’s borders. The app has had high ratings amongst users, and it has allowed Rhode Island to increase its gambling tax revenue.
Financial Betting History of Rhode Island
The 2019 fiscal year was the first full period where Rhode Island offered land-locked sports betting. The two books at Twin River and Tiverton Casino generated a decent amount of revenue, but the state wasn’t happy with the results. This led it to legalize the mobile app, and revenue did increase.
Rhode Island is a small state with just over one million residents. The news of legalized sports betting still excited a lot of people around the state.
In the 2019 fiscal year, which only accounts for November through June, Rhode Island had a handle of over $127 million. The two casinos netted a combined revenue of just under $7 million.
After taxes, Rhode Island saw the financial benefit that sports betting could bring to the state and legalized Sportsbook RI.
With a full fiscal year to work with in 2020, the two land-locked sportsbooks did a lot better than the previous year. Despite this, Twin River dominated Tiverton in book handle as well as revenue.
Twin River had its own handle of $120 million, while Tiverton’s handle was only $30 million. Twin River’s initial handle allowed it to bring in close to $12 million in revenue, while Tiverton only saw a $3 million revenue figure.
The COVID-19 pandemic skewed numbers toward the end of the fiscal year, so this is really nine months of data accumulation.
The Sportsbook RI app was only available for 10 months of the state’s 2020 fiscal year. In this time, it had a much higher handle than Tiverton Casino.
The app saw close to $50 million in bets placed, which resulted in close to $4 million in revenue. Taking all the sportsbooks together, the net revenue during the 2020 fiscal year was just under $19 million.
This is an increase of $12 million, and the biggest reason for this was the mobile app. Sports betting was largely available in 2020, and people in Rhode Island were quick to jump at the opportunity to test their luck.
Sportsbook Apps in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has one legal sports betting app for people in the state called Sportsbook RI. It was made available to Rhode Island residents and visitors in 2019.
The state wanted to expand its sports betting presence, and it felt the app was the best way to accomplish this goal.
The app is available to download on iOS and Android devices. Sportsbook RI has received positive feedback from users. It has an extremely easy interface to learn and makes betting very easy.
Sportsbook RI is sponsored by the state lottery, and William Hill is the company behind the app. Bringing in a prestigious company like William Hill was a very smart decision for the state of Rhode Island. William Hill has a great reputation in the states where its books are legalized.
The sportsbook has received an average of a four-star rating amongst players. Users love how it’s legal and operated by the Rhode Island lottery.
When this is combined with the player interface, people are typically very happy considering it’s run by the state.
There have been a few big complaints that users have expressed since the app came into play in 2019. There is no welcome bonus for new users. This has been a superior way to drive traffic to apps in other legal betting states.
The difference in Rhode Island is that the state has a monopoly. There’s only one legal app; therefore, the state doesn’t need to give bonuses because players’ only other choice is offshore books. Offshore books are known for safety issues and are illegal in Rhode Island.
As far as betting capability, the app gives players the ability to bet on all traditional wagers as well as many props. The biggest complaint about the betting capability has been surrounding live betting.
Live betting is one of the most popular bets in today’s world because players can constantly test their luck in-game. The app offers live betting, but not to the extent of many other legal apps in the United States.
Land-Locked Locations to Bet on Sports in Rhode Island
Land-locked sports betting was the original way to bet on sports in Rhode Island when it was legalized in 2018. Rhode Island has two casinos in its state. These are the only two land-locked sportsbooks available to residents and state visitors over the age of 18.
The two casinos that offer sports betting are Twin River and Tiverton. Twin River is located in Lincoln, and Tiverton is in Tiverton.
Lincoln is in the upper Northwest corner of the state, while Tiverton is on the southeastern border. These casinos also sponsor the mobile app as well, so their books offer the same wagers available on Sportsbook RI.
Twin River does better when it comes to sports betting because it’s a bigger casino, and it borders Massachusetts. It’s much easier for people to get to than Tiverton.
Tiverton tends to attract summer beachgoers and residents in the lower half of the state. It’s not far from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut, so it is forced to compete with these two powerhouses.
The land-locked sportsbooks have been hurt since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have put laws in place to keep bettors safe, but they haven’t seen increased revenue numbers like Sportsbook RI.
When it comes to features and amenities, Twin River and Tiverton casinos’ sportsbooks are very similar. Twin River is just a bigger version of Tiverton.
They each feature a full bar, but Twin River also has a full sports bar restaurant in its book. Twin River also wins when it comes to viewing the games. It has over 100 LED televisions and a real-time odds board.
This helps when looking to place a live bet. It also has numerous seating areas, so you’re able to hang with friends while betting on the action.
Bettors can only place wagers during the book’s hours in the form of cash or bet credits. They have kiosks as well as tellers for guests to lock in wagers.
Sports Teams to Bet on in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, people are allowed to bet on most college athletic contests. This isn’t the case for some other legal sportsbooks in the country.
Unfortunately, bettors are unable to wager on any Rhode Island team or any collegiate competition that takes place in the state. This law rules out NCAA Tournament games in Rhode Island and wagers on hometown teams like the University of Rhode Island, Providence College, Brown University, and Bryant University.
The state of Rhode Island also doesn’t have any pro teams in the state besides a few minor league franchises, though this doesn’t stop people from betting on local teams. Rhode Island borders Massachusetts.
Providence, the capital of Rhode Island, is less than an hour from Boston. Therefore, Rhode Island sports fans consider Boston sports franchises their hometown teams.
The four most popular teams to bet on in Rhode Island are the New England Patriots, the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, and the Boston Bruins.
The New England Patriots play in the AFC East division of the National Football League. The team is owned by Robert Kraft and coached by Bill Belichick.
The 2020 New England Patriots have a different look without Tom Brady under center. In the Brady and Belichick era, the team was able to win six Super Bowls, with the most recent championship coming in 2018.
The Boston Red Sox play right in the heart of Boston at Fenway Park. They’re in the American League East division of Major League Baseball.
The team is owned by Fenway Sports Group and managed by Alex Cora, who was hired back for the upcoming 2021 season. The team has won nine World Series championships, with the most recent coming in 2018.
The Boston Bruins play in TD Garden and are in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the NHL. The team is coached by Bruce Cassidy and has 16 Stanley Cups, with the most recent championship coming in 2011. The Bruins share TD Garden with the Celtics.
The Celtics are members of the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association and are coached by Brad Stevens. They have won 17 NBA championships but haven’t been able to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy since 2008.
Even though these teams aren’t directly in Rhode Island, they still give bettors a chance to bet on teams that Rhode Island residents love throughout the year.
FAQ for Betting in Rhode Island
Is sports betting legal in Rhode Island?
Sports betting is legal throughout the state in two land-locked locations as well as on mobile devices. It has been legal since 2018 after the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional.
What sports betting apps are legal in the state?
The Rhode Island lottery sponsors one sports betting app. It’s the only legal app in the state. It’s called Sportsbook RI, and it’s run by William Hill.
What is the legal age requirement to bet on sports in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island has a lower age requirement than most states to bet on sports and gamble in their casinos. You must be 18 years of age.
Can I play on the mobile app if I’m not a resident of Rhode Island?
Anyone is free to download the Sportsbook RI app. If you’re not in the state, you’re still able to view odds and lines.
Despite this, you can’t place a bet unless you’re within state borders. The app uses your mobile device’s GPS software to see if you’re in the state.
Does Sportsbook RI have a desktop view as well as a mobile app?
Yes, you’re able to make bets on the app as well as its desktop website. Your account is the same for each platform.
Can I make the same bets on the app as I could if I was in a land-locked sportsbook?
Yes, the two land-locked sportsbooks, Twin River and Tiverton Casino, sponsor the app. Therefore, the lines and odds are the same at the land-locked locations as they are on Sportsbook RI.
Can I bet on Rhode Island-based college teams?
No, the state doesn’t allow betting on any Rhode Island teams or collegiate athletic contests in the state.