Rhode Island Joins the Ranks With Landmark iGaming Bill

Senate Bill 948 officially allows iGaming in the state, outlining how the industry will develop in the coming years. Despite calls to diversify Rhode Island’s gambling market by allowing other operators, the exclusive deal with Bally’s and supplier IGT means the region will remain a walled garden until at least 2043 tiger711 . The new legislation still marks a significant milestone for residents, giving them new ways to engage with their hobby.

Players Can Expect a Smooth Launch

Governor Dan McKee signed Senate Bill 948 mere hours before the deadline, opting not to veto the landmark legislation. The new law outlines how the state’s iGaming industry will operate, allowing the state to capitalize on the potential economic benefits. Rhode Islanders receive a new way to engage with their favorite games and will benefit from updated safe gambling measures.

The legislation imposes a steep 50% tax on iGaming revenue, contrasting the 18% for land-based establishments. President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio, a leading proponent for the new law, noted that Rhode Islanders would enjoy new freedoms, translating the Twin River casino experience to their mobile devices.

“This iGaming legislation is constitutional, geared to mature users, contains education provisions for problem gamblers, and preserves the (current) revenue allocation percentages.”

Dominick J. Ruggerio, President of the Senate

The Rhode Island Lottery Commission, which currently oversees the state’s land-based casinos, will also regulate the state’s iGaming sector. Bill 948 gives the authority provisions to implement player safeguards like minimum age restrictions and geolocation requirements, guaranteeing sufficient player protection measures. The Commission can also partner with other state regulators, allowing Rhode Islanders to enjoy their pastime outside state borders.

The New Law Maintains the Current Status Quo

While legalized iGaming usually results in significant industry turmoil as operators strive to secure a market share in a new jurisdiction, Rhode Island’s circumstances make the launch irrelevant to the broader US market. In 2021, the state extended its long-term contract with operator Bally’s and supplier IGT, providing them with an undisputed monopoly.

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The exclusivity agreement extends into the iGaming sector, meaning Rhode Island bettors can only play at one of Bally’s many brands in the state. Such an approach leads to substantially simpler regulation but has drawn significant criticism from other operators calling for a free market. However, the current binding agreement with Bally’s makes any upsets highly unlikely.

The signing of Senate Bill 948 marks a significant milestone for Rhode Island as the state becomes the seventh one to legalize iGaming. Despite its limited scope, online gambling should bring numerous benefits like increased state revenue, job creation, and enhanced consumer protection. The state has taken care to establish the necessary safeguards and protect Rhode Islanders from potential gambling harm.