Sports betting is officially ready to begin in Rhode Island, as the Twin River Casino will begin accepting wagers at one of its two locations in the state on Monday.

Twin River Rhode Island
Twin River Casino will take the first legal sports bets in Rhode Island on Monday, beginning with an opening ceremony at 3 pm. (Image: NECN.com)

Twin River Casino announced that a sportsbook is ready to open at its location in Lincoln today, while sports betting will begin at its Tiverton location sometime in December.

Delayed Start Slashes Revenue Projections

The start to sports betting in the state is coming later than officials initially anticipated. Oct. 1 was once seen as a likely start date, but negotiations with IGT and William Hill the vendors that are combining to provide sports betting services to the state took longer than lawmakers expected.

That means that officials have already had to cut their revenue expectations for sports betting this fiscal year. The state had included $23.5 million in its budget that was supposed to be generated by the legalized sportsbooks though June 2019, but the late start has cut that total to under $12 million after the state missed out on most of the NFL regular season.

Still, the state is now ready to get into the legalized sports betting rush, with officials taking a better late than never attitude toward the delayed start.

I am frustrated with the delay in the implementation of sports gaming, Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said in a statement last week. Sports gaming provides the state with revenue that offsets reliance on taxes to support essential state services, such as education and fixing roads and bridges.

The agreement reached on sports betting will see Rhode Island receive 51 percent of all revenue from wagering the highest sports gambling tax rate of any state to regulate the industry so far while the vendor will earn 32 percent, and the casinos will see the remaining 17 percent.

Ceremonial Bets Could Benefit Charities

An opening bet ceremony is scheduled for 3 pm on Monday, with several officials taking part in the festivities. That will include not only Ruggerio, but also Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Twin River Worldwide Holdings chairman John Taylor. The guests will place ceremonial first bets, with all winnings being donated to the charities of their choosing.

To begin with, betting will be offered on the four major American professional sports leagues, as well as NCAA football and basketball contests. Thats a relatively light menu compared to states like New Jersey, though other sports are likely to be added to the list of options in the future.

State law prevents gamblers from wagering on Rhode Island college teams something that could prove impactful when it comes to NCAA basketball though the Department of Revenue says that betting on minor league teams in the state, such as the Pawtucket Red Sox, is permissible.

Residents have told local media that they are looking forward to the opportunity to place bets with a regulated sportsbook rather than through illegal means.

Im big into fantasy sports so I would love to actually bet on real games legally, and not have to worry about it, Providence resident Andre Correia told NBC 10 News.

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