On Monday, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed two bills, one each from the House and Senate. The bills now make it legal for the Twin River Management Company, which owns the state’s two casinos, to offer mobile sports betting.
While this is certainly good news for Rhode Island and its residents (as well as neighboring state residents), there is one issue that may hinder some of the excitement. While mobile and internet sports wagering is now allowed, customers must register in-person in order to make an account to bet.
William Hill and IGT are the current operators of Rhode Island’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. It is believed that they will also handle the mobile aspect. The tax rate will be the same as the physical sportsbooks, 51 percent.
There is currently no set date for the launch of mobile sports betting in the state, however, representatives of the Rhode Island Lottery said they could launch within six months if they move forward with IGT as the vendor.
Lawmakers in the state, as well as the governor, have shown urgency to get mobile betting up and running.
Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (D-District 15), who sponsored the House bill, said:
“This revenue, along with the revenue we anticipate from an expansion to mobile gaming is a tremendous benefit to the state. It’s an added benefit that we can capture revenue that would have otherwise gone to an illegal market. When you consider that up to 97 percent of sports wagering is done illegally, it makes good sense for the state to increase its revenue by providing an entertainment that can be done safely and legally.”
Rhode Island’s urgency should pay off immediately. With Massachusetts and Connecticut bordering Rhode Island, the state should see traffic from both as neither currently have legal sports betting.