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Rhode Island Legislature Passes Mobile Sports Betting Bill

A Signature From Governor Gina Raimondo Will Allow Rhode Islanders To Wager Online

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Gamblers in Rhode Island will be able to bet on sports through mobile apps after a bill to expand sports betting from retail to online was passed easily earlier this week.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D) sponsored a bill that was passed by the Senate last month by a 31-4 margin. On Tuesday, the House passed the same bill easily by a margin of 64-8.

The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Gina Raimondo (D), who is expected to sign the bill. Raimondo’s current budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins on July 1 includes revenue from both retail and online sports betting.

The current landscape in Rhode Island only allows gamblers to bet in-person at Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Tiverton. The bill would allow for the creation of an app to place sports wagers from anywhere in the state. Twin River would still be the only operator in the state.

According to the Westerly Sun, the House created and passed their own bill on the matter and the Senate plans to pass it quickly so that the Governor will have two pieces of legislation to choose from.

Since the state won’t be allowing more operators, some lawmakers feel that they aren’t expanding gambling, per se, they are just “keeping up with current technology.”

Most lawmakers agree, however, that they are in need of the tax revenue that would come from mobile betting.

“We need this and we need this now,” Democratic Rep. Anastasia Williams told the Sun, before noting that she didn’t want gambling revenue.

With all of the hurdles that Connecticut has to clear before sports betting is passed in its state, Rhode Island will continue to be the only New England state with sports betting for the foreseeable future.