Rhode Island Looks at Legal iGaming with Bally’s, IGT

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Rhode Island could become the seventh state in the US with legal iGaming under identical bills referred to legislative committees last week.

Senate Bill 948 and House Bill 6348 were filed and immediately referred to committees in their respective chambers. Both bills would allow Rhode Island’s brick-and-mortar casino operator Bally’s to operate online slots and table games through the IGT (International Game Technology) platform regulated by the Rhode Island Lottery. Sportsbook Rhode Island, the state’s only sports betting app, is also run by IGT.

Online casinos would be legal under both proposals as of Jan. 1, 2024. A launch would come after the lottery finalizes new rules.

Neither bill is scheduled to be heard in committee, but that could change. Lawmakers are expected to hold dozens of committee hearings over the next two months.

Supporters will push the bills on parallel tracks with the intention of one becoming law before the legislature adjourns on June 30.

Top Rhode Island Lawmakers on Board with iGaming Proposals

Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Rep. Gregory Costantino filed the proposals last week. Those filings followed Bally’s announcement that it intended to work with state lawmakers on iGaming legislation in the current session.

Ruggerio, D-North Providence, and House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, said in a joint statement reported by The Providence Journal on April 27 that the legislation is “a first step in the public review process around potential iGaming in Rhode Island.”

Rhode Island lawmakers push iGaming legislation forwawrd.
Providence, Rhode Island (photo by: Sean Pavone)

“Our state casinos provide an important source of revenue to fund vital programs and investments that benefit all Rhode Islanders. The companies that manage casino operations on behalf of the state have made significant investments to ensure they are well-positioned to thrive in the years ahead, much of which was required under (existing) legislation,” the joint statement said.

Bally’s and IGT would have exclusive rights to operate iGaming in Rhode Island under both bills. Bally’s currently operates both casinos in Rhode Island. IGT has been the platform for the state’s only sportsbook app since 2019.

iGaming Could Generate Millions in Revenue

Both SB 948, filed by Ruggerio, and HB 6348 filed by Costantino, D-Lincoln, could generate $210 million in new tax revenue for Rhode Island in the first five years, according to a press release issued by the Rhode Island General Assembly Press Office on April 27. That estimate was drawn from a study commissioned by Bally’s.

Per that study, annual gross gaming revenue generated by iGaming in Rhode Island in the early years would range from $93 million to $130.6 million.

Right now iGaming is legal in only six states: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Other states that have considered iGaming legislation this year include New York, Indiana, and New Hampshire.

About the Author
Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett

Legislative Writer
Based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region, Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, Hanchett has been known to watch UK. basketball from time to time.

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