Rhode Island has become the third state to pass sports betting legislation. The Sports Law Insider has previously reported on both Delaware and New Jersey’s approved gambling legislation. Now, on Friday, June 22, Governor Gina Raimondo signed Rhode Island’s fiscal year budget, which included provisions for the state’s two casinos to offer legal sports betting through the Rhode Island lottery.
With the passage of bill H.7200, sports wagering will begin at Twin River Lincoln casino and Twin River Tiverton casino on October 1, 2018. State residents had voted to approve casino sports gambling in two previous general elections, paving the way for state regulators to include the sports wagering provisions in the new budget bill.
Any gambler over the age of eighteen will be allowed to wager on professional, international, and Olympic sporting events. Additionally, gamblers can bet on athlete’s individual performances. However, there will be not be any mobile or online wagering options, as only in-person wagering at the two Twin River casinos will be legalized. Also, wagers on any collegiate sports or athletic events that takes place within the state or that involve a Rhode Island college team are strictly prohibited.
Gov. Raimondo hopes for the state to take in over $23.5 million in revenue from an estimated $395 million in wagers. Although the state is losing out on additional revenue from mobile and online wagering, legislators were able to negotiate a favorable revenue share deal with betting operator International Game Technology PLC (IGT). Rhode Island will keep 51 percent of the revenue while IGT will receive 31 percent. Twin River will receive the remaining 17 percent of the revenue. This is significantly better than New Jersey’s 8.25 percent and also higher than Delaware’s 40 percent. Rhode Island Senate president Dominick J. Ruggerio said, “the budget provides Rhode Island with the highest percentage of state revenue in the nation for sports wagering.”