Officials from the US state of Rhode Island have invited sports betting companies to submit tenders to run athletics betting at the states casinos, pending a Supreme Court decision on sports betting.
Issuing a request to tender, the Rhode Island Lottery said that it wanted to award an “exclusive contract to provide initial sports betting services” at the states Twin River casinos, potentially with a view to getting it in place by October.
According to reports in the Providence Journal legalised sports gambling at the Twin River casino in Lincoln and the planned second Twin River casino, which is due to open later this year, could contribute up to $23.5m to the state’s coffers, at least if Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s latest budget proposal is to be believed.
Hedging its bets against a potential full legalisation of sports betting by the Supreme Court the Rhode Island invitation to tender also includes provisos to expand this offering which state “their capability to readily adapt to any future additions to authorised sports betting operations in the state including, but not limited to, remote sports betting”.
Not limiting itself to just athletics related betting, the RIL tender document "includes multiple options to implement other types of sports betting in Rhode Island, if later authorised by the state including innovative and cutting edge options available as sports betting technology grows”.
However, in the first General Assembly hearing on the proposals, members of the House Finance Committee questioned the risk involved in placing such a high proportion of the states forthcoming budget on something which had not been legalised as yet.
Department of Revenue Director Mark Furcolo dismissed these concerns saying: “If the Supreme Court overturns, we have to have sports gambling to remain competitive.”
Furcolo added: “Massachusetts has big gambling entities to run their casinos. They will be able to offer sports betting very quickly.”