Rhode Island Gambling Update – Rumors, Facts and Speculation

News Flash – Rhode Island Gambling Update shows Rhode Island gambling ventures are in the news with a bullet these days. Competition from other New England casinos, sports betting, slot contracts and now mobile sports betting are keeping the Ocean state a-buzz with rumors, facts and speculation. Here’s a Rhode Island Gambling Update to cover all the bases.

Inside the Twin River Casino Sports Book

Inside the Twin River Casino Sports Book

How can such a small state like Rhode Island has such big problems in the gambling-sphere?  For years, Twin River Casino and then Newport Grand Slots just meandered along, improving little by little. Then, “BOOM” – Twin River adds a hotel, Newport is sold to TWMG and closed, only to be resurrected  as a full blown Hotel casino in Tiverton.  How can Rhode Island have so much gambling changes in such a tiny state?

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Sports Betting Going Mobile

These days, it’s all about sports betting.  And now, Ocean State residents and near-by state visitors can sit on one of Rhode Island’s many beaches and bet the NFL, MLB, and other sports – all while working on your tan. But tanning at the beaches will end soon, and so might the mobile app.

The Rhode Island Sports Betting Mobile app

The Rhode Island Sports Betting Mobile app

The state is facing a potential lawsuit claiming that the introduction of mobile sports betting is a constitutional violation. When sports betting was legalized in 2018, the General Assembly required that gaming expansion to only occur at two cites. Tiverton and Lincoln, where the state’s two casinos reside, are the only cities in Rhode Island that voted to legalize sports betting.

So what’s the big deal about this mobile app?  While you must go in person to a casino in Lincoln or Tiverton to set up an account, the app allows people to bet on sports across the state, which is much more than the G.A. approved.

According to Maia Rosenfeld of the Brown Daily Herald,  “the lawsuit against the state, brought by former Providence GOP mayoral candidate Daniel Harrop, is arguing that the mobile betting app violates an article of the Rhode Island Constitution that gives residents the right to vote on any expansion of gambling.”  “I do not consider this to be a case that has anything to do with betting or gambling,” Harrop said. “It’s an issue of rights and a constitutional issue.”

RELATED POSTS – Analysis: Winners And Losers From The First $10 Billion In Legal US Sports Betting

New England Sports Betting Arrives – Rhode Island Twin River First in NE

Slots Contract Problems

As reported earlier week by Miguel on Twitter, there’s a new kid in town and wants to take over Rhode Island’s very successful lottery.  Camelot Lottery Solutions, which recently snatched management of the Illinois Lottery from an IGT-led consortium, wants to bid on Rhode Island’s traditional lottery business if it becomes available. Together, the two companies say, they would hire 1,100 new Rhode Island workers to match those now employed by IGT (International Gaming) and Twin River would build a new headquarters of at least 50,000 square feet somewhere in the state while investing $50 million in Twin River’s casinos here.

This comes after a recent proposal also by Twin River, to employ 1,500 people in Rhode Island and make a $75-million upfront payment to the state to trump the $25 million payment in the IGT proposal.  IGT has promised $75 million in Rhode Island spending over 20 years and agreed to keep its corporate headquarters in Providence, RI. The proposed contract extension would lock in IGT’s right to provide 85% of the slots, which  doesn’t allow Twin River to put the optimum mix of best-performing machines on the floor.

Who makes the best slots?

According to our friend  AKA only a few companies besides IGT supply almost all of the slots in brick-and-mortar casinos. Many are your favorites may not make it to the Twin River Floor, such as:

Unproductive Slots Part of Unproductive Month

Missing Konami and Aristocrat from any casino floor would disappoint patrons.  But when the floor would be 85% IGT, a bigger problem may exist. The Rhode Island Lottery ordered the removal of 360 underperforming video slots machines from both Twin River and Tiverton casinos, all provided by IGT. To make matters worse, August proved to be financially gut-wrenching.  In a single week — Aug. 18 to 24 — TRMG saw a 20.58% drop in video-slot revenue at Twin River Casino from last August. Gambling is Rhode Island’s third-largest source of revenue. Unfortunately, August showed both slots and table games substantially decrease in revenue.  One big reason touted for the decline is the opening of Encore Boston Harbor.

While casino “saturation” is now once again being shouted from the hill tops, Rhode Island needs to get the mobile app settled and make a plan to compete against the other casinos.  A new hotel now seems underwhelming with more needed to be done.

Binbin

New England Casino News You Might Have Missed

So much has happened this past week, I felt a post with related links might be in order. Accordingly, here is a number of news snippets in “New England Casino News You Might Have Missed.”

Plainridge Racing at the Mercy of Mass Legislators

They did it last year, and they’re doing it again.  Who?  Massachusetts state lawmakers are bringing the horse racing to the brink of extinction once again. According to Colin A. Young in

Plainridge Raceway at Plainridge Casino, Plainville, MA

Plainridge Raceway at Plainridge Casino, Plainville, MA

the Lowell Sun, “If the legal authority for racing and simulcasting is not extended before Thursday, all racing and simulcasting must stop. Subsequently meaning it must be enacted by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker. Plainridge Park Casino, the only remaining host of live horse racing in Massachusetts, is planning to hold races until then.”

 

Live racing has come under attack in New England in recent years.  Unfortunately, Suffolk Downs, the last thoroughbred racing in Massachusetts and New England, closed in July. Maine still has racing at Scarborough and Bangor (connected to Hollywood casino block away) with parimutuel betting. The summer fair season in Maine has horse racing which helps the Maine horse breeding market.

CT Lawmakers announce comprehensive casino/sports betting plan

A bipartisan group of Connecticut lawmakers announced a wide-ranging bill they hope could lead to legalized sports betting. Furthermore, it also hints at the addition of a Bridgeport casino and the completion of the combined tribal venture in East Windsor. The tribes must spend a minimum of $100 million on an entertainment and gambling facility in Bridgeport. Consequently, the tribes will receive authorization to conduct sports wagering at Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. In addition, sports wagering through mobile applications, online and other locations in the state would be approved. The original tribal compact will stay intact, with 25% slot revenue going to the state from the two current tribal casinos. In addition, the tribes would contribute 10% of their table games revenues generated.  Only at both the proposed Bridgeport casino and East Windsor casino would add this to the state’s tourism marketing fund.

Rhode Island Sports Betting is up

Inside the Twin River Casino Sports Book

Inside the Twin River Casino Sports Book

Rhode Island’s two regulated sports betting operators, Twin River and Tiverton Casino, recorded a combined book revenue of $2.15m in June. Presently, that is a record high for the Ocean state. As a matter of fact, the total sports betting profit for the fiscal year is nearly $6.9 million. Rhode Island became the eighth state to offer sports betting in 2018, months after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA.

Mohegan Sun Prepares for sports betting

Mohegan Sun announced signed an agreement with Kambi Group plc to provide online and on-property betting products. The Kambi Sportsbook will be integrated into Mohegan Sun’s iPro gaming platform to power a free-to-play sportsbook. Equally important, it will enable Mohegan Sun guests to familiarize themselves with the Kambi product ahead of a regulated real-money launch. Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment currently has casinos and resorts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Canada, and Connecticut. At this time, both Pennsylvania and New Jersey already offer real-money legal sports wagering through retail and mobile sportsbooks.

Rhode Island Problems include deal with IGT

IGT Headquarters in Providence, RI

IGT Headquarters in Providence, RI

To begin with, the agreement would start in 2023. Through IGT’s $6.4 billion merger with Rhode Island-based GTech Holdings in 2015, the company already controls 84 percent of the slot floors at the Twin River and Tiverton casinos. Scientific Games has 12 percent of the remaining slot space, and Everi Holdings has the other 4 percent. In fact, Governor Raimondo and top lawmakers announced they had reached a tentative deal with IGT to extend its Lottery contract. In exchange, the company will keep 1,100 workers in the state employed. Although this is true, a major concern is a monopoly of gaming machines by IGT. Besides, there would be an absence popular brands found in other casinos across New England and the country by Aristocrat, Konami and IT.

Related Post – Rhode Island Casino Specs and History

another Blackjack class-action Suit, this time MGM Springfield

According to MassLive, “Blackjack players have filed a class action lawsuit claiming MGM Springfield is paying less than state regulations permit on winning hands at some tables. The claims, including in a lawsuit filed Monday in Hampden Superior Court, echo those made in a similar suit filed recently against Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor. Similarly, claims were made concerning Encore Boston Harbor after it opened. However, they were dismissed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

Wynn Not a Win?

Boston Harbor, Everett, MA

Approaching Encore Boston Harbor, Everett, MA

Encore Boston Harbor has been the most anticipated resort Casino to open in New England since Foxwoods in 1992. Even then, Foxwoods was just at the beginning of its expansion. I even called it the “Jewel” of New England’s Casinos.

To summarize, he proposes 5 considerations:

  1. Wynn’s new Massachusetts casino, Encore Boston Harbor, has sizable competition, and has significantly fewer amenities than that competition.
  2. Sentiment from early patrons skews negative.
  3. The location won’t be Encore Boston Harbor’s “silver bullet.” It’s not ideal, and it’s unclear how much convenience even matters to New England gamblers.
  4. We are projecting that EBH will fail to meet most revenue estimates, including the projections from Wynn itself.
  5. Although it’s unlikely that Encore Boston Harbor will be a significant catalyst for Wynn stock, we recommend a smaller gaming stock with large exposure to this new resort.

This is a must read as well as the comments if you are interested in New England’s casino expansion.

Finally, Maine’s Casinos Had a Record Year

Officials attend the grand opening of the Oxford Casino Hotel on Route 26 on Nov. 9. The 107-room, four-story hotel is attached to Oxford Casino, which opened in 2012 and is owned by Churchill Downs Inc.  (Oxford Casino photo)

Robert F. Bukaty of the AP reported that Maine’s two casinos raked in close to $144 million last year, setting a state gambling record. The recent rise is considered tied to Oxford’s hotel addition and expanded gaming floor.  But Milt Champion, executive director of Maine’s gambling control unit, doesn’t expect the windfall to last due to increased competition across the board. Maine is one of 12 states with record casino gambling last year, according to a report from the American Gaming Association released Tuesday. Nationwide, gamblers spent almost $42.7 billion in two dozen states with legal casinos, the association said.

Meanwhile, Maine’s positive path towards sports betting has skidded to an unexpected halt.  Gov. Janet Mills decided not to sign the bill that would legalize sports betting in her state due to concerns over expanded gambling. At this point, the bill is going nowhere fast and could stay that way forever.
That was the week’s news. Wonder what this week brings?
Binbin

Gambling Legislation Updates in New England

First, an apology.  I have been under the weather for a few weeks and have not been able to keep up with my passion here at NETimeGambling.com.  To add  to my dilemma, for many of us in Music Education, March is the busiest month of the year, with trips, drama productions, concerts and state honors festivals all in the name of Music in our Schools Month. While I have loved the many staff members and students I have worked with, I am looking forward to more dedication to NETG as I am retiring from 41 years of teaching middle school music this June with many wonderful memories to take with me.

My sincerest apology for the lack of media and coverage concerning New England’s Casinos recently. Feeling better, I am now ready to continue the quality resource the you have grown to enjoy as NETG – NETimeGambling.com.

 

Robin (Binbin)

Now, as they say….”On with the show!…”


One-hundred and seventy-one years ago, the California Gold Rush was on! On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. Though he tried to keep it quiet, word spread and soon there was a surge in immigration to California from people hoping to strike it rich. It was the most famous gold rush in American history – until the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision to disapprove PASPA, allowing states to take control of sports betting authorization, has started a sports betting frenzy.

 

In the northeast, it’s one state stumbling over another trying to get to the finish line first – trying to find the new gold standard in casino gaming – sports betting. Long gone is the obsession with getting millennials through the casino doors.  Now, a new obsession exists that many states legislators think is the Holy Grail of Gaming – sports betting.

In New England, Rhode Island ventured out first with approved sports betting at Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel, with rousing success that caused all the surrounding states to rush into sports betting legislature.  Now it’s a race to see who can share that new found gold with the Ocean State. This is an update of that race.

For a related post, try:  New England Sports Betting Arrives – Rhode Island Twin River First in NE

It’s The Time of Year For Gambling Legislation

The number of gambling bills introduced to New England’s state legislatures hit an all-time high in February.  State by state, the new bills included:

CONNECTICUT

  1. Four bills were introduced, ranging from sports betting to new casinos.  They are: SB 11 – eliminate the federal requirement that’s stopping the Tribal Winds project in East Windsor from moving forward. Currently, the state needs approval from the Department of the Interior.
  2. SB 17 – allowing casino operators to conduct sports betting in person or online to anyone within the state 21 or older. If that bill is accepted, the Connecticut Lottery would also be allowed to offer an online keno product through an agreement with the two tribes. This could violate the state agreement with the tribes.
  3. Another bill to the house would form a state gaming commission and create a competitive bidding process for a new resort casino. The tribes said this would violate the compact.
  4. A second house bill would see the launch of the Connecticut Gaming Commission and would authorize a competitive bidding process for an integrated casino resort in the Connecticut city of Bridgeport. MGM is behind the bill and has been trying to get it approved for a couple of years.

MASSACHUSETTS – Gov. Charlie Baker proposed to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts. Baker’s proposal would allow both licensed casinos in Massachusetts and online platforms like DraftKings to build their own sports betting operations, and would limit gamblers to bets on professional sports, excluding collegiate and high school athletics, as well as Esports. Baker’s bill would give oversight of sports betting to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which would vet license applicants and enforce consumer protections, such as the prohibition on anyone under 21 from placing a bet. Some proposals floating around the Legislature would not allow mobile platforms to take part in sports betting, but instead require them to contract with a physical establishment like a casino.

RHODE ISLAND – Rhode Island could have online sports betting apps as soon as this year. Senate Dominick Ruggerio submitted legislation to allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River properties. The bill contains a provision requiring initial, in-person registration for a mobile account at a Twin River property. Bettors then would be able to wager from anywhere in the state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Gov. Chris Sununu voiced his support for legislation that would make betting on sports games legal under the supervision of the state’s lottery commission. The bill, HB480, would legalize betting on professional sports and the majority of Division I college sports. Games involving New Hampshire colleges would be excluded. “Opening New Hampshire to legalized sports betting would bring in more than $10 million in additional revenue,” the governor’s office said. “Ten percent of revenue would be earmarked for services to support treatment and prevention of gambling addiction in the state. Other revenue would be put toward the state’s education system.”

MAINE – The Portland Press Herald reports the state legislature will consider several bills that would sanction and regulate sports betting, including:

  1. Benjamin Collins, the representative from Portland, is sponsoring a bill that will help Maine’s native tribes, and believes a compromise measure between various bills will come together. Such a bill would include sports betting legislation for casinos, off-track betting parlors, harness racing and tribes.
  2. Senate President Troy Jackson is sponsoring another two bills that would cover online and mobile gaming. His bills would prohibit betting on college sports, minor league teams as well as youth sports.

VERMONT – No legislation was filed in 2018, though a fantasy sports bill was proposed. The bill died in committee. NETG doesn’t expect it to happen in the Green Mountain State, at least in the next two years.


It does look like this latest gambling obsession is going to stick around.  It will bring all sorts of traffic to the brick-and-mortar casinos, especially those large enough to build sports books that will cater to a wide variety of sports betters.  Large casinos continue to depend on gambling less as the main revenue with  entertainment, dining, and conventions taking on more of the burden.  States across the country are salivating at yet another way gambling can give a quick fix to their financial woes.

I think we are seeing just the tip of gold nugget…..

Binbin