Rhode Island to begin sports betting this fall
On Friday Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed the new fiscal year $9.6 billion budget plan that includes provisions for the state’s 2 casinos to begin offering sports betting via the Rhode Island state lottery. The casinos, both Twin River properties, are located in Lincoln and Tiverton. Both towns are set to receive $100,000 worth of compensation for serving as the host communities for the new regulated sports betting in the state.
The casinos are hopeful to begin their sports betting operation sometime in the fall, with October 1 having been set as a preliminary target date for opening day.
The state of Rhode Island will receive 51 percent of the revenues for sports betting. The vendors will get 32 percent of the cut, with casinos receiving the remaining 17 percent. The vendor, known as IGT, already runs the Rhode Island lottery.
Rhode Island President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggiero said of the new budget plan, “This budget includes many Senate priorities, including increased education aid, investment in school buildings, and funding for the care of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and DCYF. It maintains the progress we have made in lowering taxes to improve our business climate while also investing in economic development, and it provides Rhode Island with the highest percentage of revenue in the nation for sports wagering. This was a collaborative effort among the Senate, House and Governor Raimondo, and I am grateful for their partnership in development of this responsible, compassionate budget.”
Back in the middle of May, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which placed a federal ban on state-sanctioned sports wagering. The ruling from the Supreme Court opened the door to individual states to determine whether or not they want to legalize and regulate sports betting within their borders.
Rhode Island is now the third state to pass legislation since PASPA was defeated after Delaware and New Jersey. Mississippi and West Virginia are expected to be the next states to follow suit sometime during the summer. Mississippi and West Virginia adopted new sports betting regulations earlier this week that are expected to be implemented by the start of football season in August and September.
To start, Rhode Island will not be offering mobile sports betting or betting via the internet. All sports wagers will have to be placed in person at one of the aforementioned casino properties. This is something that may well change in the future, but the state is wanting to take it slow to begin with, which is why they are limiting options at first.
The research firm Eilers and Krejcik Gaming predicts that without the mobile option to place bets, Rhode Island stands to generate $25.6 million in yearly revenue on sports betting off of about $395 million in bets.
Pennsylvania is another state on the verge of giving the green light to legalized sports betting, but the state’s $10 million licensing fee and 36 percent effective tax have given potential operators pause when considering applying. Nevada, of course, is the only other state in the union in which sports betting is legalized and regulated.
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