Rhode Island’s two sportsbooks install self-betting kiosks to streamline the betting process right ahead of this year’s March Madness
Rhode Island’s sportsbooks are getting an important upgrade ahead of this year’s March Madness, news emerged Friday. The state’s two casinos – Twin River Lincoln and Twin River Tiverton – are adding self-betting kiosks to reduce lines at their ticket windows.
The two gambling venues, both owned and operated by Twin River Management Group, have begun installing self-betting kiosks in anticipation of the upcoming March Madness. The Rhode Island Department of Revenue has said that testing of the devices is on schedule and they aim to get them running for this year’s edition of one of the most popular sporting events.
Twin River Lincoln will feature 17 self-betting kiosks, while its sister property in Tiverton will have five of the devices. As mentioned above, they will provide a faster alternative for bettors who want to skip waiting in lines at the two casinos’ ticket windows to place their wagers.
Rhode Island gained important competitive advantage by becoming the first state to go live with legal sports betting in New England. The two Twin River properties launched their in-person sportsbooks just a week apart late last year. The sports betting facility at Twin River Casino Lincoln opened doors in the last days of November, while the Tiverton-based property welcomed its first bettors in the first days of December.
Mobile Betting Coming to the State
According to preliminary projections, Rhode Island would reap $11.5 million in sports betting tax revenue during the first year of legal sports gambling in the state. However, figures from the Rhode Island Lottery show that the state might not be able to meet those early estimates.
According to official data, the state’s two casinos handled $32.8 million in wagers between late November and the end of January, and paid out $31.6 million in winning bets. That left $1.2 million in revenue. Under Rhode Island’s sports gambling law, the state collects 51% of the two properties’ betting revenue, which means that the amount of $612,000 has so far gone to state coffers. February figures are yet to be released by the Lottery.
A bill calling for the authorization of online and mobile betting passed its final hurdle in the state Legislature – the House of Representatives, earlier this week. The piece now needs to be signed by Gov. Gina Raimondo in order to take effect as a law. The state’s top official has included betting tax revenue in her new budget, so she is not likely to veto a measure that is intended to boost sports gambling activity.
Analysts believe that the legalization of mobile betting could generate up to $8 million in additional tax revenue for the state by the end of the year. Lawmakers have not provided a specific timeline on when exactly bettors will be able to wager via desktop or their smartphones yet.
The legislation literally swept through the Legislature. It was first introduced in the Senate in February. However, some lawmakers warned that it could face legal troubles, as there are members of the state’s Legislature who believe the legalization of mobile betting is a form of gambling expansion.
There were also warnings that a provision in the bill that requires bettors to complete a registration at the state’s two physical sportsbooks in order to be able to place bets online could impact betting activity negatively.
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