LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — Mobile sports betting is officially live in Rhode Island.
Gamblers at Twin River Casino in Lincoln were able to begin signing up for the state’s sports betting app when it launched at 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to R.I. Department of Revenue spokesperson Paul Grimaldi. He described it as a “soft launch.”
But before gamblers can begin placing bets via the mobile app — which can be downloaded through online app stores — they need to register with a photo ID at the casino.
Once registered, bets can be placed online anywhere within the state.
Grimaldi said registration at Twin River’s other casino, in Tiverton, is not yet available, but will be within a few days.
In-person sports betting began at Twin River last fall after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for states to offer it.
“As people use their accounts over time in the weeks or month, they are going to be able to market to you and give you other options, other reasons to come to Lincoln or Tiverton to see a show or have dinner or to play another game,” said Rhode Island Dept. of Revenue Paul Grimaldi.
However, there is a pending legal challenge against Rhode Island sports betting, with the plaintiffs arguing the state’s constitution requires voter authorization for new forms of casino gambling. The case’s next hearing is set for Sept. 11.
“It’s the integrity issue. Colleges around the country are really concerned about players who aren’t making any money,” said Grimaldi. “Will they be tempted to throw a game. So the best way for us to avoid that is to not allow that kind of betting in Rhode Island.”
Sports betting — both mobile and in-person — is expected to bring in $22.7 million for the state during the current 2019-20 fiscal year, according to the most recent official revenue estimates.