It looks like Rhode Island’s sports betting will start later than originally planned. On Friday, RI signed a five-year contract with William Hill and IGT to run its sports gambling operation. IGT, which was the only bidder for the contract with the state, will be the official sports betting partner with Rhode Island.
The state’s legislature passed legalized gambling in June and, at that time, Patti Doyle, the spokesperson for Twin River said they had planned to launch the operations in October. According to an email sent to Legal Sports Report, Doyle said,
“We’re working for an October date for the offering of a sports betting amenity. We’ve begun the planning process for the space – which will be set in a sports-themed environment and a highly interactive one at that. We’ve also contemplated staff requirements.”
The contract allows for on-site mobile wagering, which is where anyone of legal age wishing to place bets must be on the casino grounds in order to use their mobile device to wager. This is similar to the arrangement in Mississippi. The partnership will provide a complete end-to-end sports betting service using IGT’s platform with William Hill offering its world-class risk management and sports betting operations.
IGT has over 12,000 employees in over 100 countries, and focuses on leading-edge technology, premium content, in-depth customer service, operational expertise, and substantial investment in innovation. The company has well-developed relationship with regulators and governments all over the world.
Renato Ascoli, the CEO of IGT, said in the press release that they’re happy to be a partner in the sports betting operations in Rhode Island:
“We are pleased that Rhode Island is the first lottery to set up sports betting operations post-PASPA. IGT is a leading and proven supplier of sports betting technology in the U.S. The combination with William Hill, a leading sports betting operator in the U.S., uniquely positions us to provide the Rhode Island Lottery with a comprehensive, market-ready solution to maximize sports betting revenues and returns to good causes for the state of Rhode Island.”
William Hill PCL is a betting and gaming company that employs more than 16,000 people. It started out in the UK in 1934, and most of its annual revenue comes from the UK; however, in 2012 it established William Hill US in Nevada, where it is now the largest sports betting business in the United States.
Currently, the company has 107 race and sportsbooks and is that state’s leading sports betting app. The company plans on spreading throughout the Unites States after the Supreme Court’s ruling in May that overturned the ban on sports betting outside of Nevada.
So far, the company has operations in New Jersey at Ocean Resort Casino and at Monmouth Park Racetrack, and is the licensed sports betting provider for multiple casinos in Mississippi. Furthermore, William Hill US is the exclusive risk manager for Delaware’s sports lottery.
Rhode Island’s lottery will be responsible for oversight of sports betting in the state, which will, at this point, take place at its two casinos, Twin River Casino in Tiverton and Twin River Casino in Lincoln. In a press release sent out on August 24, Gerald Aubin, the Lottery Director for Rhode Island, said:
“It’s an exciting time for the Rhode Island Lottery. With the introduction of legalized sports betting, we will leverage world-class resources and technology from IGT and William Hill to provide the best-possible sports betting experience for the patrons who visit our casinos.”
Originally the start date was supposed to be in October, but since the contract was only signed in late August, it doesn’t seem likely that operations will begin that soon. The Tiverton casino won’t even open until September 1, so a November launch seems more reasonable. With a later start date, sportsbooks will miss out on a large chunk of revenue since it will miss several the majority of college football’s regular season and nearly half of the NFL’s regular season games.
Revenue from Rhode Island sports betting will benefit the state. The breakdown for revenue sharing is 51 percent for Rhode Island, 32 percent for IGT, and 17 percent for the casino. It remains to be seen if casinos there will support the governor’s budget of $23.5 million in annual sports betting revenue, since that would require around $900 million in handle. For a better grasp of just how much that is, Nevada’s sportsbooks took in $5 billion in handle last year as the only state in the country that offered single-game wagering.
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