A Rhode Island gambling bill, which would legalize online casinos, has passed through the Senate.
Sponsored by Dominick J. Ruggiero (D-North Providence), Senate Bill 948 was approved on June 8. After a 30-4 vote, Senators approved the changed bill. It is now heading to the House of Representatives to be paired with a similar bill introduced by Rep. Gregory J. Constantino (D-Lincoln).
In a post by The Center Square, Ruggiero said:
“This legislation provides an added convenience to Rhode Islanders who would like to play the existing table games offered at Twin River via their mobile devices. It helps ensure the continued strength of the state facilities in the competitive regional gaming market, and in so doing protects an important revenue stream that provides funding for vital state programs and investments.”
If enacted, SB948 would make online casinos in Rhode Island available to players over the age of 21 by Jan. 1.
Bally’s has exclusive rights to operate an online casino in Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s online casino bill would give Bally’s exclusive rights to operate in the state. Online gambling would be allowed via the operator’s two properties, Twin River and Twin River-Tiverton.
Online casino games will be available through the IGT platform, the same provider used in the state’s physical casinos. The Rhode Island Lottery would remain to be the state’s official regulator. The two have recently extended their sports betting agreement for another three years.
Setting up the ability to play tables remotely
Further amendments require a live dealer to be present, similar to New Jersey casinos. Bally’s would live stream dealers onto players’ mobile devices, with the bets technically placed in a casino location. Table game selection will include the following:
- Big Six
Revenue from online slots will increase from 50% to 61%, whereas the table game revenue share will be lowered from 18% to 15.5%.
The revised legislation also increased the legal age of online table game players from 18 to 21. Bally’s must also provide funds for problem gambling education.
Rhode Island legislative session ends June 30
The measure had been on hold since May 10 to tackle constitutionality concerns.
The Rhode Island legislative session ends on June 30, which is when the Rhode Island House of Representatives will adjourn to pass the bill.
According to SB948, the law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.