Bally’s Rhode Island Soft Launch Will Include Live Dealer Games

On March 1, Bally Casino will have its soft launch in Rhode Island and, contrary to earlier reporting, will include live dealer games from the start.

Last year, Bally’s had said that its partner, StakeLogic, would not be prepared to open its studios until April.

That would have left Bally Casino with a slots-only product for its first month. Due to a quirk of Rhode Island’s laws, purely digital (“RNG”) table games aren’t legal. Any game that would typically involve a human dealer in a retail casino needs to be streamed from a live dealer studio to be legal for online play in the state.

Paul Grimaldi, Chief of Information and Public Relations for the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, told Bonus on Feb. 29 that live dealer was part of the launch phase plan.

Slots available 24/7, live table available 7 hours daily at minimum to start.

Bonus expects that the live dealer games available at launch will be limited to blackjack and roulette. StakeLogic received its Rhode Island supplier license on Feb. 13, its third in the US.

For the first four days, sign-ups will be by invitation only, with Bally’s selecting users to test the new product. A full launch will follow on March 5, at which point sign-ups will be open to the general public.

Why No RNG Table Games at Bally Casino RI?

The Rhode Island state constitution requires voter approval through a referendum to add new forms of gambling in the state. However, state lawmakers interpreted this to mean that adding online casino games would be possible without a referendum so long as they were hosted at one of the retail casinos voters already approved.

There was some concern that this could lead to a legal challenge, questioning whether online casino games constitute a distinct product from their retail equivalents.

The live dealer requirement was added to the state’s online casino bill late in its legislative journey. The rationale was that even retail slots use digital random number generators (RNGs) similar to those for an online slot. Conversely, it would be easier for a legal opponent to argue that online blackjack using an RNG is a different game from retail blackjack. That’s because they use different means to determine the game’s outcome—a digital system versus a physical deck of cards.

Greg Pare, Director of Communications for the Rhode Island Senate, told Bonus last year that there was “no consensus” about whether this was actually necessary. However, adding the requirement was a short-term compromise to get the bill through. Following a more thorough legal analysis, we may see a push to add RNG table games to the state’s offerings.

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is an online gambling industry analyst with nearly ten years of experience. He currently serves as Casino News Managing Editor for Bonus.com, part of the Catena Media Network. Other gambling news sites he has contributed to include PlayUSA and Online Poker Report, and his writing has been cited in The Atlantic.
Back To Top

Get connected with us on Social Media