Rhode Island may be hurting the states betting handle with it's mobile betting regulations.

  • Rhode Island law requires sports bettors that want to use their mobile sports betting applications to activate their accounts at a casino first.
  • The number of users for their mobile platform is down causing a domino effect in potential revenue.
  • Other states without this requirement have seen their sports wagering markets soar on their mobile apps.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.Rhode Island mobile sports betting is down due to the lack of accounts being activated by users. The law states that all residents that want to take part in mobile applications for sports wagers must go to one of the two casinos in the state to activate their accounts.

This is believed to be the problem when it comes to the low numbers in comparison to other states.

“Clearly the mobile app is much less attractive in Rhode Island than it appears to be in all the other states in the U.S. as well as other countries that have mobile gambling,” said Victor Matheson, a professor of economics from the College of the Holy Cross.

What The Numbers Look Like

The beginning of December showed a mobile app member sign up of 17,199 residents. However, the amount of those that signed up differs greatly from those that activated their accounts by visiting a casino.

Only 7,834 members have gone on to make their mobile sports betting eligibility active. Even less have actually put money into their accounts, with a total of 6,425 users doing so.

Mobile sports betting equates to the bulk of revenue on sporting events for every state that offers it.

Rhode Island launched its app in September. While their number of users jumped to over 27.4% of their sports gambling activities, it only accounted for 20.7% of their overall handle. Meanwhile, states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania are thriving with their mobile sports betting platforms.

New Jersey has 86.5% of their wagers coming from their mobile outlets and Pennsylvania has 84.3% of bettors using their mobile applications.

“The numbers certainly show the difference: everywhere in the United States and everywhere in the world that has mobile gambling, all of the sports gambling goes in on the mobile site rather than in casinos,” said Matheson.

The Future Of Mobile Sports Betting In RI

Twin River Casino will be rolling out a program to encourage residents to come down to their casino and activate their accounts. Bettors can visit either location in Lincoln or Tiverton. Currently, the initiative is in a testing phase for the next few weeks before its shown to the public.

There is no word yet on what it will include to help boost the interest of the gamblers visiting the casinos to use the state’s mobile sports betting app. Rhode Island is down over 50% compared to estimates prior to the launch of legal sports wagers.

Neighboring states may fare better with their mobile sports betting operations because of the in-person registration that Rhode Island requires of their residents. This could potentially take business away from the state.

Iowa also has an in-person sign up for their mobile applications but will get rid of that part of their sports betting law beginning in 2021. Rhode Island may need to take note of Iowa’s actions and do the same if the initiative’s launch by the casinos doesn’t help their numbers with mobile sports betting.

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