Mobile sports wagering in Rhode Island is a step closer to becoming legal after the State Senate approved the RI sports betting bill. The legislation will allow mobile betting in Twin River casinos.
The RI sports betting bill, introduced by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, is on a fast track. Also, the House is likely to pass a similar bill later this month. The Senate bill requires users to register for an account in-person before they can use the app. In addition, players can bet on college and professional sports via the app. However, they can’t wager on Rhode Island college teams.
Last November, the first brick-and-mortar bookie opened and it became popular over time. In fact, there are usually long lines leading out of its doors. Both locals and out-of-towners go to the sportsbook during sporting events.
RI Sports Betting Bill
The Senate approved the bill with the vote of 31 to 4. Senator Sam Bell was against the bill. He said mobile sports betting should be introduced in a competitive market. At present, the activity is available through Twin River casinos alone. In addition, the bill requires servers placed in licensed casinos. As a result, a bookie pay per head provider can’t offer its services in Rhode Island.
According to Senator Bell, the law will give a monopoly on online sports betting to an existing provider. Twin River will have a monopoly on both online and offline sports wagering in the state. Industry experts agree because the bill excludes the entry of sportsbook pay per head solutions in the state.
Senator Donna Nesselbush supported the RI sports betting bill. However, she questioned its legality because the state’s constitution requires a referendum for expanding gambling in Rhode Island.
Last year, the legalization of in-person sports betting made gambling news headlines when people questioned its validity. During that time, state leaders said the activity fell under the voter-approved table gaming at Twin River casinos.