Rhode Island Senator files mobile sports betting bill

Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has put forward a new bill in an effort to legalise mobile sports betting in the state.

Bill 2019-S 0037 was put to the state’s Senate yesterday (January 16), setting out measures to allow the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton to offer mobile sports wagering to consumers.

If passed, the casinos would be permitted to work with developers to create an app so that punters can place bets via mobile from anywhere in Rhode Island. Operators would need to utilise geolocation technology to ensure players cannot access the app from outside of the state’s boundaries.

Consumers wanting to bet via mobile would first need to set up their accounts in person at either Twin River casino. Bets would taken via a server-based gaming system located at each casinos.

The bill also sets out measures to ensure Rhode Island takes 51% in tax from all mobile sports betting revenue, keeping new laws in line with regulations for land-based wagering.

“The new in-person sportsbook that opened in November has been very popular, with lines stretching out the doors,” Ruggerio said. “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.

“It is estimated 97% of sports betting takes place illegally," he continued. "This is an opportunity to give Rhode Islanders and visitors a legal avenue to participate in an activity they enjoy, while providing a very tangible benefit to our state.”

Rhode Island legalised land-based sports betting in June last year and launched its regulated market in November. The state is yet to consider plans to legalise online sports wagering.

The two Twin River casinos are working with William Hill and IGT to offer sports betting to consumers, under a deal agreed between the three parties in August of last year.

IGT and William Hill provide end-to-end sports betting services at both casinos, Rhode Island’s only licensed video lottery and table game establishments.

Ruggerio's bill has been referred to the Senate Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs Committee for further scrutiny.

 
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