A big step
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed House Bill 8097 and Senate Bill 2919 on Thursday, allowing sports bettors to create a mobile sportsbook account without having to visit a casino. Both bills got overwhelming support in both chambers.
had to physically visit one of the two Twin River casinos in the Rhode Island in order to complete the setup
Previously, bettors could start the process of opening an account from anywhere in the state, but had to physically visit one of the two Twin River casinos in the Rhode Island in order to complete the setup.
The plan is for remote registration to be up and running within a month. This means that sports bettors will have plenty of time to create an account before the NFL season begins, assuming it starts on time.
Charles Cohen, vice president of sports betting at Rhode Island’s sports betting technology supplier IGT, said that it is “prepared to quickly adapt our IGT PlaySports technology to accommodate mobile registration should it be approved.”
Speaking about the move to remote registration, Rhode Island Lottery spokesperson Paul Grimaldi said: “The evolution of player registration to a fully remote process mobile is part of that effort as we work to provide the best possible player experience.”
Reasoning for remote registration
About 45% of all downloads led to fully activated sportsbook accounts in Rhode Island, but the industry average is around 75%. This has contributed to underwhelming sports betting revenue results in the state since mobile sports betting first launched in September 2019.
Rhode Island is also hoping to attract sports bettors from Massachusetts with this move, as they can just cross over state lines into Rhode Island to sign up for a sports betting account and place bets on their mobile devices.
This sort of trend was seen in New Jersey when it launched mobile sports betting, with New Yorkers regularly crossing state lines to place bets in the Garden State.
nobody could register for a new mobile sports betting account
The coronavirus pandemic has also meant that the two Twin River casinos were closed for an extended period of time starting in March and lasting until June 8. This meant that nobody could register for a new mobile sports betting account while these properties were closed.
Transition to remote registration
There are now just three states in the country that require people to register in-person for mobile sports betting accounts. Iowa and Illinois have concrete plans in place to eliminate this as a requirement.
Iowa will allow remote registration at the start of 2021. Illinois is planning to wait to transition until it issues a $20m online-only license in the state, but it has temporarily allowed remote registration because of the pandemic. Otherwise, Nevada is the only state that will be requiring in-person registration for the foreseeable future.