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Rhode Island Online Casino Bill Wins Senate Approval - Newstbt.com

Tiffany Burroughs
Updated: 5 August 2023
1 min to read

On Thursday, June 8, the Rhode Island Senate voted 30-4 to approve legislation on Legal iGaming, just two days after the Senate Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs Committee had unanimously passed the bill with constitutional changes.

This week, the Rhode Island Senate approved changes to the state’s iGaming bill which removed digital table games. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio’s (D-Providence) Director of Communications, Greg Pare, stated that this amendment addresses the Rhode Island Lottery’s constitutional concerns, as the original bill did not include a live person. To address this issue, live-dealer offerings are now required for all online table games. To further regulate the bill, Pare suggested simulcast gaming, which has been an accepted practice in states such as New Jersey. This practice involves constructing a miniature casino, similar to a TV studio, and broadcasting the games to players on their mobile devices. The Rhode Island state flag is shown above. (Image: Getty Images)

SB 948, a proposed bill, would allow Bally’s to provide online gaming using the IGT platform, already operating in traditional casinos in the state. Should the legislation pass, the Rhode Island Lottery would monitor and regulate it, and adjustments may be made to relevant taxes and gaming ages.

Tax, Gaming Age Changes

In response to concerns, two changes were made to SB 948. The minimum age for online table games to play was raised from 18 to 21 and gambling addiction treatment issues were addressed. Additionally, tax rates were amended, with Rhode Island’s take increased from 50% to 61% of online slot revenue, while the share of table game revenue was decreased from 18% to 15.5%. Based on a recent estimate from a consulting firm, gross iGaming revenue for Rhode Island is expected to reach $162.6 million within the first five years of operation; however, this is short of Bally’s original estimation of $210 million. The next steps for Rhode Island iGaming are still to be determined.

Rhode Island iGaming Next Steps 

Senate Bill 948, which has been lead sponsored by Dominick Ruggerio (D-Providence), has been described by Ruggerio as a “focused version of iGaming that is ready for passage and implementation.” Once the measure successfully clears the Senate, it will move on to the House for further consideration. In the states of New York, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Indiana, iGaming bills have not yet met with success, however, Rhode Island is a step closer to legalizing online casinos. Retail sports betting was previously made legal in May 2018.

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Updated: 5 August 2023
1 min to read

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