Bally’s Corporation is seeking to expand its small casino-games monopoly in Rhode Island by asking the state’s legislature to add various forms of iGaming to the services the company is allowed to over in the state. According to a Providence Journal report, Bally’s executives hope to add the online gambling services to the existing live gambling it offers in Rhode Island’s two land-based casinos.
Bally’s Senior Vice President Craig Eaton, speaking at a Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce legislative forum, announced the company’s iGaming hopes on Wednesday. “We see this as a vital step to secure our competitive advantage and ensure critical revenue to the state,” Eaton told the gathering. “Despite area competition, which is growing to our north and to our southwest in Connecticut, we know we have to keep improving our products and experiences. We can’t sit still, and we need to meet our customers where they are.”
The company hopes that state legislators in favor of the company’s plans will submit an authorizing measure in the near future, with online versions of poker, blackjack and slot machines reportedly to be included. Bally’s already offers online sports betting through a partnership with IGT, though that partnership is subject to renewal later this year.
Bally’s already operates both of the state’s casinos, Twin River Lincoln and Tiverton. However, casino expansion in recent years in neighboring Massachusetts, Connecticut, and soon New York as well, has Bally’s and the state eyeing gambling revenue that’s currently leaving the state.
Whether or not the state approves an online-gambling expansion isn’t the only hurdle. While Bally’s Twin River does offer live poker, it’s a wide open question as to whether the state’s small population would support a standalone online-poker platform. Rhode Island, with just over 1.1 million residents, would have approximately the same market drawing power as Delaware. Instead, as a state added to an existing multi-state compact, Rhode Island would become far more viable for online poker, though that might require a second partnership with an online platform provider, someone other than IGT. Alternately, and in a scenario less likely to appeal to Bally’s, Rhode Island’s legislators could consider authorizing other online operators as well.