The Rhode Island online casino bill (SB948) which lawmakers introduced in April, is currently put on hold.
Before moving forward, Senate Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs Committee members voted to wait and get some questions about it answered.
If the proposal receives the green light, it could come into effect as early as Jan. 1, 2024. Rhode Island would impose a 50% tax rate on online slots and 18% on table games.
Compared to other US jurisdictions looking to legalize online casinos, Rhode Island lawmakers are not concerned about the cannibalization of retail casino revenue.
Rhode Island Senate Committee’s concerns about online gambling bill
According to Bonus.com, State Sen. Elaine J. Morgan wasn’t the only committee member with questions and concerns regarding the Rhode Island online casino bill. Morgan (R-Ashaway) requested changing the legal gambling age in the bill from 18 to 21.
Furthermore, Chairman Walter S. Felag Jr. wanted to know how the casino app would keep children from gambling. Elizabeth Suever, Bally’s VP of government relations, suggested players could set up facial recognition and multi-factor authentication as only accountholders.
State Sen. Pamela J. Lauria (D-Barrington) expressed concerns about gambling limits and ads. Suever said Bally’s wouldn’t advertise in the state since it would have a monopoly.
SBA suggests introducing more online casino apps
Jon Mandel of the Sports Betting Alliance (SBA) pressed members to change the legislation and allow more than one online casino operator. Mandel suggested a bill amendment that would expand the planned online gambling market.
The alliance, which includes BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics and FanDuel, recommended changing the text of the proposed legislation to create a competitive scene.
Mandel emphasized that healthy competition with multiple online casino operators can deliver more tax proceeds. A competitive online gambling market in Rhode Island would also offer plenty of betting options for the residents.
On behalf of Light and Wonder, Leonard Lopes requested the committee add a bill amendment. He suggested that Rhode Island should not allow gambling companies with illegal sites operating worldwide.