- Sports betting in Rhode Island has been legal since June of 2018.
- Former Providence GOP mayoral candidate Daniel Harrop is arguing that sports betting, like other forms of gambling expansion in the state, must be approved by voters first.
- The Rhode Island Lottery has already spent $10,000 on advertising the launch of its new mobile sports wagering app.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Mobile sports betting in Rhode Island seems to be imminent, despite the fact that the state and several sports gambling partners are caught in a lawsuit.
The person filing the legal preceding is none other than former GOP Mayoral candidate of Providence, Daniel Harrop. Harrop argues that sports betting in Rhode Island, like all other forms of gambling expansion, must be approved by a voter referendum according to the state constitution.
Lawyers from the State Lottery believe the case should be dismissed given the fact that Harrop himself has not been hurt or affected by the legalization of sports wagering in Rhode Island. They are also questioning the timing of the lawsuit as reported by the Providence Journal. A memo supporting the Lottery’s motion to dismiss the case reads the following:
“Can an individual who has waited over a year since legislation commencing sports wagering passed, asserts no particularized injury-in-fact (as distinguished from every other Rhode Island voter), and does not reside in either town where sports wagering is hosted have a standing to challenge what he describes as constitutional claims on behalf of all Rhode Island voters… This question must be answered in the negative.”
Harrop, who is serving as plaintiff, has noted that the purpose of the case is not to stop legal sports betting in Rhode Island, but rather give the public their right to vote on the issue. On Thursday, the plaintiffs will file their response to the defendant’s motion to dismiss.
Why The Lawsuit Won’t Stop The Launch of Mobile Sports Betting In R.I.
Sports betting in Rhode Island was signed into law in June of 2018, but it wasn’t until November of 2018 that RI sportsbooks launched.
The state found out quickly that retail only options were not going to be enough to reach original revenue projections. This is what prompted state lawmakers to introduce and pass a mobile sports wagering bill earlier this year.
RI S 37, was signed into law in late March or 2019. It allows the Rhode Island lottery to provide a state-wide mobile sports betting app powered by IGT and in conjunction with the Twin River Casinos.
The state is counting on the new platform to help bolster revenue. According to an email sent to the Providence Journal by Jade Borgeson, chief of staff of the Department of Revenue, the state has spent $10,000 on ads promoting the upcoming app so far.
Borgeson also said that the Rhode Island sports wagering app is expected to launch before the state of the 2019 NFL Season.
– In his career, Hasan has worked both local and state government positions—including the Attorney General’s Office in Florida. On top of being familiar with the legislative process, he has also been researching and writing on the legality of sports betting across the US. Outside of work you’ll most likely find him producing or playing music, playing sports, or working on creative writing projects. You’ll also catch him at Doak Campbell Stadium cheering on the Noles.