Senate passes iGaming bill



STATE HOUSE, Providence – The Rhode Island Senate today approved legislation to provide a new means of accessing existing table game offerings at Twin River. Sponsored by President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggeiro, the bill, S-0948 Sub. A, enables Rhode Islanders over the age of 21 to access existing table games remotely, via a computer or a mobile app. Players would have to be located within the state of Rhode Island.


“This legislation provides an added convenience to Rhode Islanders who would like to play the existing table games offered at Twin River via their mobile devices,” said President Ruggerio (D – Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). “It helps ensure the continued strength of the state facilities in the competitive regional gaming market, and in so doing protects an important revenue stream that provides funding for vital state programs and investments.”


Addressing concerns raised during the committee hearing process regarding Bally’s initial proposal, the amended legislation requires a live dealer be in place. A similar approach has been taken in many places around the country, including in New Jersey, where their law requires bets to be wagered in Atlantic City. A miniature casino is constructed, much like a television studio, and the games are simulcast to people playing through their mobile devices.


The amended bill restricts online table games to users over the age of 21, and Bally’s has also agreed to provide additional resources to educate young people about problem gaming.


All revenue sharing percentages remain the same as existing revenue ratios.


“This is a focused version of iGaming that is ready for passage and implementation,” said President Ruggerio. “This iGaming legislation is constitutional, is geared to mature users, contains education provisions for problem gamblers, and preserves the revenue allocation percentages as they are currently in place.”


The bill will now be sent to the House for consideration, where Rep. Gregory J. Costantino (D – Dist. 44, Lincoln, Smithfield, Johnston) has introduced similar legislation.