Assembly approves legislation to enable wagering on in-state collegiate sports teams during tournaments


            STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly tonight approved legislation (2023-S 0003, 2023-H 6313) sponsored by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio and Rep. Jacquelyn Baginski that would enable sports wagering on in-state collegiate teams when they are participating in tournaments that consist of four or more teams.

“This legislation will enable Rhode Islanders to wager on their favorite local college teams when they are participating in highly anticipated events like March Madness. It makes a very small change that brings Rhode Island in line with neighboring states – including Massachusetts, which took this approach when it legalized sports betting,” said President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). “Ultimately, when residents of our state seek to place wagers during college tournaments, we shouldn’t be forcing them to go to Massachusetts or Connecticut. We want to keep those fans, and those dollars, here at home.”

           “This is a common-sense piece of legislation that will keep needed revenue in the state while allowing our state’s college sports fans to bet on their favorite teams during tournament play.  The current model that sends Rhode Island’s sports bettors out of state to place their wagers frankly makes no sense, and this legislation will keep that betting revenue in the state where it belongs,” said Representative Baginski (D-Dist. 17, Cranston).

The legislation amends the portion of state law regarding video lottery games, table games, and sports wagering. It would allow wagers on collegiate tournaments that take place in Rhode Island or which involve Rhode Island collegiate teams, regardless of where they occur. Wagers on individual performance statistics of collegiate athletes remain prohibited under the proposal.

The legislation now heads to the governor for consideration.