- Rhode Island sports betting is currently only legal inside the state’s Twin River casinos.
- Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo previously included online sports betting as part of her 2019 fiscal year budget.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – With the recent approval of a gaming expansion bill by the State House, online sports betting in Rhode Island is only one signature away from becoming a reality.
The bill, known as RI SB 37, was originally introduced by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio. It includes provisions to allow the current sportsbooks at the Twin River locations in Lincoln and Tiverton to operate their own mobile sports betting platforms and it was originally proposed in January of this year.
“The new, in-person sportsbook that opened in November has been very popular, with lines stretching out the doors. Expanding to mobile gaming would provide a convenient option for those wishing to enjoy this form of entertainment, and open up economic benefits beyond the walls of Tiverton,” said Ruggerio.
The bill does come with certain stipulations for sports bettors looking to use a mobile sports wagering app.
The first being that anyone who wishes to use the app must register in-person at one of the Twin River locations. The second factor to consider is that in order to place a wager through the platform you must be physically located within the borders of R.I.
Even with these provisions, online sports gambling is expected to boost Rhode Islands tax revenue by $3 million dollars and reach a total of $30 million from wagering on sports alone, according to Governor Raimondo’s proposed state budget.
What Are The Chances Online Sports Betting Is Approved?
Rhode Island Senate Bill 37 has seen wide support from both legislative chambers since it was introduced. The bill passed by a margin of 64-8 in the Senate and also passed in the House by a vote of 62-10.
Although, some are questioning the legality of this bill becoming law. The Rhode Island constitution requires any gaming expansion to be approved via a state-wide voter referendum.
“I think we should be asking for an advisory opinion from the Rhode Island Supreme Court before we build our budget around it and invest in the technology,” said Republican House Minority Leader Blake Filippi.
Others have argued that voters already voted to pass sports gambling expansion in previous years. In either case, Rhode Island Governor Raimondo seems to favor the expansion by having added it in her proposed state budget.
As of now, even with a tax rate of 51%, each Twin River location is only averaging around a million dollars per month which would translate to an annual rate of 12 million dollars going to the state.
Rhode Island is already falling short of the expectations they had for tax revenue generated by sports wagering. State officials are hoping to see a boost with the potential passing of this latest bill.
– 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.