Yesterday marked the first day of legal sports betting in Rhode Island, with punters placing sports bets at the Twin River Casino.

It meant the Lincoln casino became the first in New England to welcome legal sports betting, with some of the Ocean State’s legislative leaders stepping up to the plate to place the inaugural wager.

Democratic senate president Dominick Ruggerio and Democratic house speaker Nicholas Mattiello, along with John Taylor, chairman of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, were all in attendance to mark the occasion.

The Sacramento Bee reported that around 50 people queued during ceremony, with many waiting to bet on Monday night football and on the Boston Celtics.

Twin River has also outlined ambitions to grow sports betting in the state, with it expecting to begin sports betting at its second Rhode Island casino, in Tiverton, in December.

Bets in Rhode Island must be placed in person, with Twin’s two venues the only locations where this is possible – for now. Rhode Island became the first New England state to legalise sports betting after PASPA was struck down earlier this year and is expected to widen the offer in due course, perhaps permitting bets at lottery outlets and sports bars.

The state of Rhode Island will take 51 per cent of the revenue from betting through taxation. The vendor keeps 32 per cent while the casino itself will get 17 per cent.

Any winnings from the bets placed by Ruggerio, Mattiello and Taylor were be donated to charity, with Twin River itself guaranteeing at least a $500 donation irrespective of the outcome.

Ruggerio chose a food bank as his beneficiary, while Mattiello selected an animal shelter. Taylor, who bet (successfully) on the Boston Celtics to beat the New Orleans Pelicans, picked the American Red Cross.