LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — After a weeks-long delay, sports betting will soon be available at Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
On Thursday, casino officials gave Eyewitness News a tour of the work they have been doing behind the scenes to get ready.
“It’s probably two of the fastest construction projects that we’ve done,” Director of Operations Mike Barlow said.
The first phase is slated to open sometime next week on the casino’s third floor. The construction there was on a much smaller scale, according to Barlow.
Bettors will approach a desk to place a wager and can then sit nearby on individual televisions if they want.
“Like old school sports book,” Barlow added.
By mid-December, the main phase will be open. The sports bar will feature 100 seats and 100 televisions, and patrons can also place bets.
Twin River General Manager Craig Sculos said it will be a social environment with a lot of energy.
“The idea is it’s the tailgate party without having to go outside to tailgate,” he said.
Sports betting in Rhode Island was made possible earlier this year after a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way.
By mid-summer, state legislators added it to the budget.
“We’re in sports gaming earlier than a lot of other states and we have a better percentage for the taxpayers than any state that’s doing it right now,” House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said at the time.
State lawmakers set it up so that sports betting would only allowed at Twin Rivers’ Lincoln and Tiverton locations. Rhode Island receives 51% of the revenue, according to the state budget.
Legislators banked on $23.5 million for this budget year under the assumption betting would be in place by October 1. After the weeks-long delay, that estimate has been lowered to $11.5 million.
Twin River officials say they wanted to make sure when they opened, they were ready.
“Being first into the market is important,” Sculos said. “It allows us to raise the flag.”
Sports betting is expected to be available at Twin River’s Tiverton casino by mid-December.
“Our guests are ready for it,” Barlow said. “They ask about it every day. The audience is ready that’s for sure.”