Published: March 3, 2024

Bally's Twin River rolling out virtual casino games in RI on March 5

On the second floor of Bally's Twin River, the company's newest, most technologically advanced table games are hidden behind a locked door, down a windowless hallway with black walls and black carpet.
There, red felt roulette and blackjack tables sit under the glare of television studio spotlights, their dealers turning cards, spinning wheels and staring straight into the video cameras.
This is what "iGaming" looks like: real life casino dealers playing virtual casino games inside a real life physical casino.
On Tuesday, Rhode Islanders should be able to play these games on their mobile phones or computers anywhere in the state.
And by next year, the state expects to collect $25 million per year from this latest expansion of legal betting, the state's third-largest revenue source. Under favorable estimates, Bally's iGaming could generate more than $40 million per year within the next five years.
Gamblers will play these new virtual games − including 170 virtual slot games on top of the table games − on a standalone Bally's app.
"When you think about it, there are a lot of people that just don't want to travel to a casino for various reasons," Craig Eaton, president of Bally's Rhode Island, told The Journal in a training room for dealers off just down the hall from the new iGaming studio. "They could be far away down in the South County area, for instance, or maybe they're intimidated by just being in a casino or playing, sitting in a table game."
Craig Eaton, president of Rhode Island operations for Bally's Corp., in front of the training area for the company's new iGaming app at Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
Rhode Island lawmakers authorized iGaming last summer and within a couple of months Bally's went to work transforming a corner of the casino that once hosted slot machines into the iGaming studio. The work cost around $5 million, Bally's spokeswoman Patti Doyle said.
That expense, along with the cost of employing live, union dealers to host iGaming, is obviously not the cheapest way to offer mobile virtual gambling, especially in a world of sophisticated artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
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