Rhode Island Senate Votes in Approval of Mobile Sports Wagering

Mobile sports betting

30-second summary:

  • Rhode Island Senate approves mobile sports betting bill 31 to 4
  • Twin River Casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton would operate the mobile option
  • Similar version of Senate bill in House; vote expected later this month
  • Sports bettors would need to set up online account via Twin River Casino before having access to app

Mobile sports betting is one step closer to fruition in Rhode Island as the state Senate has now given its approval. A bill allowing mobile wagering via Twin River casinos was approved by the Senate with a vote of 31 to 4.

The legislation is moving fairly quickly within the Senate. A similar measure is in the House. The House bill is expected to be voted on before the month’s end.

Mobile sports wagering details

Following House approval, mobile sports betting would take place via an app. The Twin River casinos located in Lincoln and Tiverton would be able to offer the new betting option once an app has been created.

Consumers would be able to access the sports betting offerings from Twin River facilities. Mobile betting could be conducted from anywhere in the state. To take part, players would have to register at one of the Twin River facilities in person for an online account. Only then would the app be made available to a player.

Once signed up, players would be able to wager on both professional and college sports games. College teams in Rhode Island will be excluded from wagering.

Senate president Dominick J Ruggerio said: “The new in-person sportsbook that opened in November has been very popular with lines sometimes stretching out the doors. It is an entertainment option that many Rhode Islanders enjoy, and visitors from outside the state are also flocking to our gaming facilities to place their wagers on sporting events.

“Expanding to mobile gaming would provide a convenient option for those wishing to enjoy this form of entertainment and open up the economic benefits beyond the walls of Twin River. I can envision a group of friends from out of state spending an evening out in a local establishment where they can both watch the game and place a wager.”

Opposition

While the majority of the Senate voted in approval for the measure, there was some opposition. Senator Sam Bell stated his opposition, refusing to vote in favor of the option because he believes it would create a monopoly for Twin River.

Bell stated that mobile gaming should be allowed, but the marketplace should be competitive instead of through the casino operator. During the debate of the bill, Bell said that this is America and there was supposed to be a free market economy and competition.

Despite a few negative feelings, the bill now waits for passage in the House. If approved, Governor Gina Raimondo will receive the measure and it will await her signature. She has already submitted a proposal for the 2019-2010 state budget, which includes $3m in new revenues created from mobile gaming.