Rhode Island inches toward iGaming rollout

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: January 22, 2024 12:02 pm EST

Rhode Island’s path toward becoming the latest US state to go live with real-money casino-style gaming has moved slightly closer to becoming reality, with state officials expecting a limited rollout on or around March 1, 2024.

The latest updates from Rhode Island came from Poker Industry Pro’s Charlie Passut, who received word from RIDOR (Rhode Island Department of Revenue) spokesperson Paul Grimaldi about the state’s plans. The rollout appears likely to be an online slots-only move, with live-dealer table games another step down the path.

RIDOR is the parent agency for the Rhode Island Lottery Commission, which in turn oversees all forms of legalized gambling in the state. According to Grimaldi, state officials will meet this week to firm up plans for the rollout.

Two Bally’s casinos to offer online action

When the rollout occurs, the online slots will be offered via the online sites of Rhode Island’s two brick-and-mortar casinos, Bally’s Twin River Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton. Bally’s is the official online partner of the Rhode Island Lottery and the state’s lottery site already includes working links for live table games and video lottery as offered by the two casinos, which will have an online monopoly for the table games’ online versions when introduced.

The Bally’s partnership with the state already includes live and online sports betting, which has been offered for four years, and video lottery terminals (VRTs) on the two casinos’ floors. Neither the state’s lottery site nor the two casinos’ online portals offer any information to date regarding the looming launch of online slots.

Online poker… later

The other iCasino services have no set launch date at the present time, and online poker, though part of the long-term picture, will likely be the last online-casino service to go live. Even assuming that Bally’s, possibly with another software partner, had an online-poker platform ready to go, Rhode Island’s small population likely precludes it from being offered by Bally’s as a standalone, single-state service.

That reality means another period of time wherein Rhode Island works with MSIGA (Multi-State Internet Gaming Association), the only entity in the US currently regulating multi-state online poker. The multiple hurdles imply that regulated online poker in Rhode Island is several months away at the very least, and 2025 might be a more realistic launch window.