Rhode Island Adds Mobile Sports Betting Amid Intensifying New England Competition

Posted on: September 6, 2019, 02:55h. 

Last updated on: September 6, 2019, 05:21h.

Underlining its status as the only state in New England where sports wagering is currently permitted, Rhode Island earlier this week unveiled mobile sports betting.

Rhode Island is making a bet of its own on mobile sports wagering. (Image: CT Post)

Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (TRWH), the operator of the state’s two casinos, in partnership with gaming device maker and lottery manager International Game Technology (IGT) launched mobile sports betting in the Ocean State on Wednesday, just in time for the first NFL game of 2019. The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears on Thursday night.

We’ve had a few days of mobile app availability and all seems to be running smoothly thus far,” said Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle in emailed remarks to Casino.org. “Guests are responsive to the enhanced offering of now having the option to either place bets in a vibrant environment like the Sportsbook Bar & Grill or to do so in the comfort of their own home.”

Doyle said William Hill is managing TRWH’s mobile offering. A message to the sportsbook operator from Casino.org was not responded to by press time. TRWH has experience in sports betting operations, as it also has gaming properties in Delaware and Mississippi, two states where the activity is permitted.

Looking For An Edge

Last year, Rhode Island became the eighth state to legalize sports betting following the overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Today, the Ocean State remains the only one in New England where sports betting is permitted, though Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, or some combination of that trio, could join the ranks next year.

Still, Rhode Island and TRWH have a head start on other states in the region, something the operator and the state are hoping can be leveraged into an advantage at a time of booming sports betting growth and an increasingly competitive gaming landscape in New England.

To date, sports betting has been a rocky endeavor for Rhode Island. In February, sportsbooks there took a beating after the New England Patriots, the region’s only NFL franchise, won the Super Bowl and, by some estimates, the state only hauled in less than half the expected $30 million in the first fiscal year of sports wagering.

At the start of this year, Rhode Island had 1.05 million residents, making it the eighth-smallest state overall and second-smallest after Delaware to offer gambling on athletic competitions.

Helping Hand

Rhode Island and TRWH are hoping the addition of mobile sports betting will shore up some of the revenue lost since Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor opened in late June. Twin River recently said slot and table revenue tumbled at its flagship Rhode Island casino after the Wynn property opened, prompting a headcount reduction.

Other New England casinos have noted pressure following the debut of Encore Boston, and TRWH has taken some steps to address those issues. In addition to the mobile sports effort, TRWH said late last month its Tiverton Casino in the Rhode Island town of the same name landed permission to remain open 24 hours a day.