Rhode Island Now Allows Mobile Sportsbook Remote Registration

  • Governor Gina Raimondo signed House Bill 8097 and Senate Bill 2919 into law on Thursday
  • The bills allow for remote registration of a mobile sports betting account in the state
  • An in-person registration requirement hurt the industry with casinos closed during the pandemic
Person using a credit card to bet with their phone
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has signed two bills into law that allow remote registration of mobile sports betting accounts. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

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.

Increasing conversions

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.”

Allowing remote registration for mobile sports betting could result in thousands of people signing up for an account for the first time. Approximately 14,000 people have begun the mobile registration process but never physically went to a casino to confirm their accounts, according to the state’s Department of Revenue.

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.”

SB 2919 and HB 8097 were both was approved by their respective chambers on July 16.

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.