Bally’s Corporation has announced it will ask lawmakers to legalize Rhode Island online casinos. The well-known casino and gaming company announced the news during a recent legislative luncheon in Providence.
The move would help Rhode Island generate more tax revenue for the state. And give it long-term competitiveness in the New England online casino market.
Elizabeth Suever, vice president of government relations for Bally’s, said the company will lean on its experience with sports betting law to draft the online gambling legislation.
“We intend to model this after the legislation used to establish online sports betting in Rhode Island, effectively giving the State complete regulatory control and the ability to ensure the integrity of the program, while maximizing revenue for the State.”
Revenue could hit nearly $100 million in the first year
A single company would rarely announce its plans to push a legislature to legalize online casinos. However, in Rhode Island, it makes sense. The state’s law designates Bally’s as the only company allowed to run casinos.
It has two properties: Bally’s Twin River Lincoln and Bally’s Tiverton. Should online casinos become legal in the state, only those two casinos would have the right to obtain licenses.
And, according to a study commissioned by Bally’s, the state could see up to $93.3 million in gross gaming revenue in the first year. By year five, Bally’s predicts that number will go up to $130.6 million, an increase of 40%.
The state is predicted to earn $210 million in tax revenue over those first five years. Bally’s noted that these revenue numbers are based on a 51% tax rate on slots and 18% on table games.
Rhode Island online casinos would not impact brick-and-mortar casinos
One of the big fears of casino operators is that online casinos will pull traffic away from brick-and-mortar properties. Whether or not this happens is a matter of debate.
In some states, online gambling does not negatively affect retail casino revenue. However, in other states, it cuts into revenue in the short term but evens out in the long run.
Bally’s said that projections indicate “little to no switching of play from retail casinos to online casino gaming is expected, preserving retail casino revenues paid to the state.”
Other details about Rhode Island online gambling
Bally’s noted in a press release that its online casino law would include the basics:
- Only players who are physically in the state would be able to access Rhode Island online casinos
- For safety and security, the servers that process online gambling would be located in restricted areas at Bally’s two casinos
- The state would have the power to create rules for online casinos, including security, operations, and accounting.
Bally’s said the plan is to launch Rhode Island online casinos on Jan. 1, 2024.