Bally's Previous Rhode Island iGaming Revenue Forecast Could Fall $50M Short - Newstbt.com
According to a new financial report, the Rhode Island Department of Revenue has released a report suggesting that revenue from legalized iGaming could potentially be $50 million lower than was anticipated.
In 2021, Dominick Ruggerio (D), the President of the Rhode Island Senate, spoke at a corporate event held by Bally’s. Ruggerio is a sponsor of the state’s proposed iGaming bill, and a consulting firm, Christiansen Capital Advisors, LLC, has estimated that Rhode Island could earn $162.6 million in the first five years of operations. This is $47.4 million short of Bally’s prediction that iGaming would bring $210 million to the state. Bally’s plans to work with International Game Technology (IGT) to manage online gaming through the Rhode Island Lottery if the bill is approved. According to the report, the six states currently operating iGaming services – Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia – generated $5.6 billion in gross revenue in the year ending March 31st, 2023.
Proposed iGaming Bill
Rhode Island has been the site of a great deal of debate regarding the legality of iGaming. Currently, it is illegal, however Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D-Providence) has made it a top priority to pass SB 948, which Governor signed into law last month. From January 1st, 2024, online casino slots and table games will be authorized by statute and Bally’s would be using the IGT platform, which functions in the existing brick-and-mortar casinos in the state. The Rhode Island Lottery will be the one governing this new system, as previously done with the previous online sports betting law that was enacted in May 2018. Despite support for iGaming, there exists opposition to it due to concerns about promoting gambling and its potential harm to individuals.
Mark Furcolo, Director of the Rhode Island Lottery, has expressed his opposition to the proposed bill due to the belief that it is “likely unconstitutional,” as reported by the Providence Journal. Furcolo commented that the “bill as drafted must be revised to conform with the authorization under the 2012 and 2016 Voter Referendums related to casino gaming.” The opposition within the House has largely focused on the potential negative ramifications for younger people, particularly those who are high school students, which Rep. Gregory Costantino (D-Lincoln) has identified as being at risk of gambling addiction and credit card debt. As a result, Constantino has suggested that online gambling should be restricted to individuals 21 and older.
Many states are reluctant to embrace iGaming, despite the fact that Bally’s vice president of government relations has declared online sports betting and iLottery games to be accessible to anyone over 18 in the state. In addition, several current and former lawmakers have recommended raising the iGaming age. John Tassoni Jr., a former state senator and current head of the Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council in Rhode Island, has urged Bally’s to increase their contribution to gambling addiction treatment programs. He mentioned the extra funds should be used for education and prevention.
Many States Hesitant to Bet on iGaming
The American Gaming Association (AGA) reported in its 2023 State of the States report that iGaming grossed a total of $1.48 billion in the first quarter of the year, representing a 22.7% increase in year-over-year revenue from 2022. Illinois and Maine are actively considering legislation for online gaming; though Maine has pushed consideration to 2024, and New York, New Hampshire, and Indiana are among the states debating the implementation of iGaming, no such laws will be passed this year. The amount of tax revenue that each individual state receives is dependent on its own laws; Rhode Island, for example, would obtain a 41% cut of the total iGaming revenue generated by proposed operator Bally’s Corp.
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