Rhode Islanders are thankful the wait is finally over.
Two months ago, Rhode Island passed a bill that legalized legal sports betting and now, after a long delay, the state has permitted the Twin River Casino and Tiverton Casio Hotel to launch their sportsbooks on Thanksgiving weekend.
Visitors won’t be able to place wagers online using their computers or phones but will be able to bet in remote locations in early 2019.
Senate President Dominick Ruggerio believes the state lost between $5 million and $6 million in tax revenue from the delay.
“I’m very disappointed because we depended on that revenue for a number of things affecting this coming year’s budget,” said Ruggerio.
The Rhode Island State Legislature has struggled to balance the state’s budget this decade and has pushed for legal gambling to ease the burden, becoming the third-largest source for tax revenue after legalizing table games in 2013.
Sports betting in the state was supposed to launch on Oct. 1, but the delay was caused because of issues with Twin River Casino and IGT. The launch will not be able to cover the 2018 Thanksgiving football betting odds and lines.
The options at the two casinos will be limited as both are not prepared to accept wagers on things such as propositional bets or “prop bets,” which are wagers on events not directly related to the outcome of a game, such as stats and the likelihood of other things happening with a given game.
However, with the launch finally set to start right after Thanksgiving Day, Rhode Island managed to get ahead of states like Massachusetts and Connecticut, who are also making big pushes into the sports betting market.
In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and paved the way for states to begin legalizing sports betting.
A few states have already passed legislation that legalized sports betting, and dozens more are set to introduce legislation when state legislatures start the 2019 session.
Rhode Island will become the seventh state to offer legal sports betting when it launches at two casinos this Thanksgiving weekend.