A bill that would expand sports betting in Rhode Island is making its way through. The bill, which could bring sports betting on collegiate teams, has cleared a Senate committee.
The Senate Committee Special Legislation and Veteran Affairs voted 6-2 on Mar. 22 to advance legislation. The bill now moves to the Senate floor, with a vote expected next week.
Ruggiero proposes legislation to include sports betting on college teams
Senate President Dominick Ruggiero proposed legislation and sponsored the state’s original sports betting bill. This proposal would allow players to bet on their favorite sports teams in Rhode Island, which they currently can’t do.
State residents could bet on college athletics in Rhode Island in tournaments involving at least four teams. As the bill reads:
“Collegiate tournament” means a series of collegiate sports or athletic events involving 8 four (4) or more collegiate teams that make up a single unit of competition.”
The available options would include the following:
- Pre-season invitationals
- Conference tournaments
- NCAA tournaments like March Madness
Ruggiero told Abc6: “I think everyone wants to bet on Providence College. I think a lot of people would love to bet on URI. I just think it would increase the revenue we get from sports betting substantially.”
Those against the legislation say that fans having closer access to athletes could lead to players throwing games. But, with athletes now able to profit off their name, Ruggiero said he is not concerned: “There’s a different sentiment out there now that the players have the ability to make money now on their names. So, I don’t see it as big of an issue as it was at one time.”
Ruggiero considering online gambling in Rhode Island
Perhaps with some push from Bally’s, Ruggiero told WPRI.com last month:
“I’m also looking at iGaming. I think that will be a substantial revenue generator down the line where people can stay at home and basically do everything similar to what they do on sports betting.”
Since 2018, both Rhode Island casinos have been providing sports betting options:
- Bally’s Twin River Casino, with a full sportsbook
- Bally’s Twin River Tiverton Casino and Hotel with a kiosk to serve its customers.
The state also offers land-based casinos, lottery and charitable gambling.