Both bills are now sitting on Governor Gina Raimondo’s desk for her approval and signature. It’s expected that the Governor will approve these bills and mobile registration will begin in the near future.
Overwhelming Approval for the Bills
It seems both HB 8097 and SB 2919 each received overwhelming support, making the process faster and smoother. The bills each tackled mobile sports betting registration and would end the need for sports bettors to visit a casino in person to register for an account.
Currently, sports bettors need to head to one of Twin River’s two casinos simply to fill in the online registration form. Unfortunately, this can act as a huge deterrent for those who either don’t want to or can’t visit a casino in person.
Rep. Marvin Abney, who was a sponsor of HB 8097, believes that once you take away the need to register in person at a casino there will be a lot more mobile registrations occurring.
The online sports betting platform is being operated by William Hill and features IGT’s cutting-edge technology, which can certainly handle registrations in a remote manner. Mobile sports betting has been legal in the state for almost a full year now as it passed back in August 2019.
There Was Some Hesitation
Despite the fact that each bill passed with overwhelming support, that’s not to say there wasn’t some hesitation from lawmakers who voiced their concerns and disapproval.
House Minority Leader Rep. Blake Filippi was one of those who didn’t fully support the bill and didn’t want it to move forward. Rep. Filippi held firm to the fact that when sports betting was originally approved and legalized the rules stated that registration must be done in person.
And, he wasn’t the only one that felt that way as Senator Samuel Bell also had concerns as he felt this was the same as expanding gambling. Bell further stated that mobile registration and the removal of in-person registration should be left in the hands of the voters to decide.
To add fire to the issue, there’s been at least one lawsuit against the state to put a stop to sports betting all together. This injunction was denied by the Superior Court just last month. An appeal is expected in the near future.
Rep. Blake Filippi questions whether or not mobile sports betting is even constitutional. He also commented on the legal efforts to try and stop sports betting in the state:
“I know this is currently on its way up to the Supreme Court and I just think we should be cautious about undermining the state’s position in front of the Supreme Court.”
How Will Mobile Registration Help Sports Betting?
It’s believed that over 14,000 accounts have yet to complete their registration to start betting online. That’s a staggering number that would greatly affect the total handle each month. Furthermore, it would also greatly impact the potential tax revenue that Rhode Island could receive.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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