New England

Sports Betting Set to Begin Monday in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the only New England state so far that has passed legislation legalizing sports betting

Sports betting is beginning in Rhode Island.

Twin River Casino announced Wednesday that the first bets will be accepted at its Lincoln location starting Monday. Twin River expects to begin sports betting at its Tiverton location in December.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law earlier this year that made most sports gambling illegal. Rhode Island is the only New England state so far that has passed legislation legalizing sports betting.

State officials had hoped to launch sports betting on Oct. 1, but they said negotiations with the vendor who is managing sports betting services took longer than expected. The state budget included $23.5 million in revenue from sports betting through June 30, assuming an Oct. 1 start. Analysts recently cut that total by $12 million because of the delay.

Rhode Island missed out on revenue from bets that would have occurred when the NFL season began and during baseball's World Series.

Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said that while he was frustrated by the delay, he's pleased that sports betting will soon be available.

"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," he said in a statement Wednesday.

Ruggerio will take part in an "opening bet ceremony" at 3 p.m. Monday, Twin River said. Ruggerio, Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and John Taylor, chairman of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, will place the ceremonial first bets.

Rhode Island will get 51 percent of the revenue from sports betting. The vendor will get 32 percent and the casino will get 17 percent.

The Rhode Island Department of Revenue does not currently have an estimate for how lucrative the market potentially could be in the future. That will depend on how popular sports betting is among Rhode Islanders, whether Massachusetts and Connecticut residents travel to Rhode Island to place bets and whether tourists visiting Newport go to the Tiverton casino, which is about 30 minutes away, the department has said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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