Rhode Island Online Casino Gambling Sees Slow But Smooth Full Launch Day

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Rhode Island online casino gambling experienced its full Launch Day, beginning at noon on March 5. The newest and perhaps most unusual legal iGaming marketplace had a slow but smooth start via Bally Casino.

State lawmakers approved legal Rhode Island online casino gambling in 2023, and regulators allowed it to launch under supervision on March 1. However, the invite-only soft launch of the iGaming site owned by Providence-based Bally’s Corporation (Bally’s Corporation 13,20 +0,46%) wasn’t the unique part.

Nor is it that Bally Casino has a monopoly in the 1 million-resident state.

Paul Grimaldi — spokesman for the online casino gambling regulator, the Rhode Island Department of Revenue (RIDOR) — said to Bonus on March 5 that as of March 4, the app had 315 pre-registered account holders.

Even that isn’t what’s remarkable.

It’s that the online casino offers three gaming options:

  • Slots
  • Blackjack
  • Roulette

Also, online gamblers can only play blackjack and roulette via the live dealer option eight hours a day. In other states with legal iGaming, table games are available 24 hours a day through live dealer or random number generator (RNG) products.

In Rhode Island, 25 dealers play blackjack and roulette in a Stakelogic studio housed in Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort. A live stream goes to online gamblers statewide.

Ultimately, 50 to 75 full- and part-time staffers will work in the second-floor, 4,000-square-foot studio, Bally’s announced on March 5.

UPDATE: 03/08/2024

Grimaldi told Bonus on March 8 that, as of the morning before Rhode Island Bally Casino had 1,575 account registrations.

Plus, as of the morning of March 7, the site had seen $2.6 million in wagers.

Bally Casino Differs in Rhode Island

Bally’s emphasized on March 5 that it’s following all state laws and regulations.

Craig Eaton, president of Bally’s Rhode Island operations, said in the March 5 press release:

As with all gaming operations, the State will retain complete regulatory control of iGaming, with nearly 62 percent of the slot revenue and 15 percent of the table game revenue directed to the State.

Because of the Rhode Island law requiring a referendum to change the state constitution to expand gambling, lawmakers interpreted Bally’s status as the state’s only commercial casino company as it being legally able to offer a live stream from its premises.

Meanwhile, because slots aren’t grouped in the same category as table games, many types of human-free slot games are available at Rhode Island Bally Casino.

As Bonus News Managing Editor Alex Weldon put it on Feb. 29:

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.

The company site says the following slots are among what’s available on its site there:

  • 88 Fortunes
  • The 100,000 Pyramid
  • Cash Eruption
  • Fortune Coin 

A March 5 Bally’s announcement said Rhode Island Bally Casino has 170 slots, and more are coming.

So that’s how Bally Casino in Rhode Island differs from Pennsylvania Bally Casino and the New Jersey site.

Rhode Island Bally Casino Status

RIDOR’s Grimaldi said the March 1 to 4 soft launch went “very well.” Regulators needed that phase to check the technical aspects of the app and site.

Patti Doyle, founder of Providence-based Patti Doyle Communications, spoke on behalf of Bally’s Corporation.

On March 5, Doyle told Bonus:

The soft launch has gone extremely well. The dealers are operating 8-hour shifts which we’ll extend over time. We have 25 dealers dedicated to iGaming which may shift over time. We expect to add more games over the coming weeks and months, but those [slots, blackjack, and roulette] are the games currently offered. We’re very pleased to offer this secure, fun gaming experience to Rhode Island-based patrons.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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