Rhode Island could have mobile betting in place for the start of this year’s NFL season according to Department of Revenue spokesperson Paul Grimaldi. He announced this week that the state plans to implement testing of mobile betting apps in August.
There will be two apps on offer, one each for Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel, although sports fans looking to place wagers via mobile will still be required to visit locations in person to verify their identity. Once that process is completed, however, they can deposit money via their mobile.
State officials are hoping for a much needed boost in revenue directly as a result of mobile sports betting, having seen a less than satisfactory take from the terrestrial business thus far. With just a couple of months to go before the end of the fiscal year, the target of $11.5m set within Governor Raimondo’s budget now looks hopelessly out of reach with a mere $3.9m generated to date.
Should Rhode Island get mobile gaming off the ground, it will be only the third outside of Nevada to do so after New Jersey and Pennsylvania. West Virginia’s efforts to introduce mobile were cut painfully short just prior to March Madness due to issues with the mobile provider.
One potential hurdle does remain – a legal challenge to sports betting in Rhode Island has been lodged by a Republican-led group. It argues that the proposals require voting approval before they can become legal. Raimondo’s office has responded to the effect that several legal opinions were provided backing the view that sports wagering had already been approved by voters.