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Online sports betting live in time for NFL season

Joseph A. Griswold, Asst. Sports Editor

Mobile sports betting has officially gone live in Rhode Island just in time for the start of the NFL season. The announcement was made Wednesday following the live launch of the Rhode Island Mobile Sportsbook app at 3p.m. at the Twin River Casino. 
According to the R.I. Department of Revenue Spokesperson Paul Grimaldi the app,  “[is] a milestone for us,” Grimaldi said. “We promised to get this done by the start of the NFL season and we’ve accomplished that,”
Before individuals can place their bets through the app they must register in person at Twin River Casino in Lincoln with a valid photo ID. Once they are registered, bettors are allowed to place wagers anywhere within the state. 
Sports betting has been a point of contention in Rhode Island for an extended period of time. However, the addition of mobile betting, along with in-person sports betting is projected to bring in $22.7 million in revenue during the 2019-20 fiscal year. The state of Rhode Island takes 51% of what gamblers lose and the online wagering is slated to bring in $17 million for the state from the $22.7 million. 
The revenue is needed after a reported 34% drop in profits at Twin River Casino. This drop in profits is widely attributed to the opening of new casinos in Massachusetts. 
Despite the launch, bettors cannot yet register at Twin River’s Tiverton location as registration has been delayed to next week. 
Although the app has launched there is still potential for it to be shut down, as there is currently a pending legal challenge against Rhode Island allowing online sports betting. The plaintiffs are arguing that the state’s constitution requires voter authorization for new forms of casino gambling.
Although the case is set to be heard in court at a hearing on September 11, the Rhode Island Lottery does not believe that the mobile wagering will be stopped.