Sports wagering set to begin at Twin River

Sports wagering set to begin at Twin River

Phase one of Twin River Casino’s sports betting offerings in Lincoln is set to open next week. Patrons will purchase a ticket at the counter to the right and sit at one of the screens to the left. Phase two will include a complete sports lounge. (Breeze photos by Nicole Dotzenrod)

LINCOLN – Patrons of Twin River Casino should be able to make sports bets for the first time on Monday, Nov. 27, when casino officials are planning to roll out the first phase of its sports gambling offerings in Lincoln.

Sports betting will launch at Twin River Casino in Lincoln at 3 p.m., according to casino officials. An opening bet ceremony will be held, with Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, Senate President Dominic Ruggerio and John E. Taylor Jr., executive chairman of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc. placing the ceremonial first bets.

Phase I, the area slated to open this week, includes a set of odds boards built out in the 1940s portion of the facility as part of the original racing track. Patrons will be able to bet on both sports games and horses in the Phase I area.

Phase 2 of the sports betting rollout will be “more robust,” according to Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle, who said the casino’s phased approach is similar to other areas of the country where sports gambling has been legalized.

Rhode Island’s state legislature approved sports betting in June of this year.

A 3,600-square-foot sports lounge with hundreds of television screens and comfy chairs is under construction behind the Wicked Good Bar and Grill. Expected to open mid-December, the lounge was used as rentable banquet space prior to construction.

“Phase 2 will be more of a social environment, separate from the activities on the main floor,” said Mike Barlow, vice president of operations for Twin River Management Group Inc. “We want to offer a tailgate party without having to go outside and tailgate.”

Twin River General Manager Craig Sculos said, “Being first in the market is important. It allows us to raise the flag and expand what our casino offerings are. Our goal is to bring people into the property that have never been here before.”

Sculos called sports betting a continued investment and a stepping-stone for the casino to cater to a new demographic and expand its offerings.

Sports betting was originally expected to be available to casino patrons by October 1. Addressing the weeks-long delay in opening, Sculos said the casino “needed to open when it’s reasonable, safe and smart to do so.”

“We’re shooting for as close to Thanksgiving as we can get,” he said.

The delay has cost the state, with the Revenue Estimating Conference reducing its sports betting revenue estimate from $23.5 million to $11.5 million. Rhode Island Department of Revenue spokesman Paul Grimaldi said the delay was due to complex negotiations this summer/fall between Twin River, vendor IGT/William Hill, and the Rhode Island Lottery, “on the various aspects of the sports book operation.”

Grimaldi said the specific date for sports betting to become available “is dependent on the completion of testing of the IGT/William Hill sports betting software,” which was released to a third-party testing vendor on Nov. 5. The sports book will start taking bets once the software is certified, according to Grimaldi.

“People have been asking when we’re opening. The audience is ready, that’s for sure,” Barlow said.

An architectural rendering depicts the future sports lounge at Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle and vice president of operations Mike Barlow walk through what will soon be the entrance of Wicked Good Sports Book, a sports lounge set to open mid-December.

Comments

The 1st estimate was at $23 million but now it's down $12 million to $11 million. On the original $23 million in revenue, we (Lincoln) were set to receive $100,000 from it. Hopefully, we don't receive less with the new lower estimate.