State-licensed online casino games will soon be available in Rhode Island, just months after the idea was informally circulated.
RI is the smallest state in the United States with a land area less than 50 miles by 50 miles in each direction. It was the 13th colony and the first to declare independence in 1776.
It also houses the operational offices of IGT and the headquarters of Bally’s Corp., the two companies selected to operate online gambling under the supervision of the State Lottery Commission.
The law met little opposition after the idea was presented on behalf of Bally’s and its operating partner IGT at a Wednesday afternoon luncheon at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce in February.
As a result, the House of Representatives introduced a bill that some lottery officials felt may be unconstitutional because of the way table games have been legalized in the state. The Senate then introduced and passed a “replacement” bill earlier this month with a “solution” that amounted to scrapping digital table games and allowing only live dealer online casino games.
Governor Dan McKee signed Senate Bill 948 on Thursday (June 22) giving Bally’s a land-based casino monopoly on iGaming unrivaled anywhere else in the United States. IGT stands by their side, not only on the technology side of the deal, on the supply side of the video lottery terminal business for land-based casinos and sports betting deal with Bally’s and the state, but also on the multi-decade lottery concession.
The online casino or casinos where Bally’s would have servers in one or both of the state’s only two land-based casinos, which would be home to Bally’s Twin Rivers Lincoln Casino Resort and Bally’s Tiverton Casino & Hotel would be sponsored by the Lottery of Rhode operated island (RILOT).
“This legislation offers more convenience to Rhode Islanders who wish to play the table games offered at Twin River via their mobile devices.”said bill sponsor and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio.
“This is a focused version of iGaming, ready to be implemented. This gambling legislation is constitutional, caters to experienced users, includes educational provisions for problem gamblers and maintains current revenue sharing percentages.”
Not everyone is happy with “Monopoly”.
Competitors, like a gaming alliance that includes DraftKings, have previously spoken out against a continued “monopoly,” but they simply weren’t listened to when it came to getting the job done.
New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Connecticut were ahead of RI in online casino licensing, as was Nevada. However, while Nevada law permitted online slots and other games, online poker regulations were enacted to comply with the law, which is why online casinos never opened in Nevada.
The original bill called for the Games to begin on January 1, 2024, and while that’s still possible, the new law calls for the March 1, 2024 to begin.
Spring: Rhode Island is the seventh state to legalize igaming. iGaming Business, June 22, 2023