Rhode Island Sports Betters Limited By In-Person Required Registrations

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Mar 12, 2020 11:03Joe Tarzaiski

Sports betting laws passed in Rhode Island did not initially include online sports betting. It became available in September 2019, immediately causing controversy. Players can currently game from their computers and mobile platforms, but are required to make and initial verify account information in person at one of the two licensed sportsbooks, Twin River and Tiverton Casino. These land-based casinos are proudly represented by the bookmaker William Hill.

Rhode Island is lobbying for freedom to access online sports betting. Although accessible, they feel limited due to an in-person registration requirement.

Rhode Island was one of the initial states initializing involvement in legalizing sports betting legislation when PASPA was repealed in 2018.

There are currently over 23,000 residents involved in online sports betting, and less than half have officially visited the state’s two Twin River casinos to follow through with the process of registering in person.

Rhode Island is one of four states that currently entail in-person requirements. They are joined by Iowa, Nevada, and Illinois.

Current Developments on Legal Changes in the State

Twin River casino released a statement in January stating there was a program in the process of development called the ‘RI sports betting project.’ After being approached in regard to their plans of action, neither Twin River nor the RI Department of Revenue offered anything, declining to comment.

A spokesperson stated the program currently remains in the ‘planning phase,’ and supposedly is intended to boost in-person registrations. This program was intended to launch in January, but Rhode Island continue to wait for results.

Popularity of Online Sports Betting in the State

Rhode Island sports betting ranked the lowest in the country January, 2020 at under thirty percent. The percentage did rise to almost thirty-two percent in February as reported by the Department of Revenue. Although this is an ample increase, it pales in comparison to several other states:

  • Nevada – 49%
  • Iowa – 66.4%
  • Pennsylvania – close to 90%
  • New Jersey – close to 90%
  • Indiana – 77.9% in February
  • West Virginia – 69.3% in February

Rhode Island obviously has a lower population than the list above, but improvement of the state’s numbers will need to continually improve in order to speed up the legal process to move forward with the process.

Online Rhode Island Sports Betting Rises, Holds Ground to Improve

As of March 4th, the total amount of online wagers reached nearly $43.5 million. That total includes an amount nearing $9 million during the month of February 2020. Although February is the shortest month of the year, this marks the state’s highest month revenue since online sports betting was initiated.

These numbers display a fruitful future, but many improvements are needed within the state in order to compare to the other state markets. The ‘program’ needs to speed up its process now more than ever, now that New Hampshire and Boston are now pushing for market share as well.

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Joe Tarzaiski
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Joe Tarzaiski began his sports writing career in 2004 in the Philadelphia market, analyzing and handicapping professional sports, college sports, poker and various table games. He currently reports on the increased efforts on the legalization and continual growth of sports betting throughout the United States. A Philadelphia University alum, Joe is dedicated to following current trends in both the gaming community and daily news throughout the sports world.
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