Rhode Island Becomes the Seventh State to Legalizes iGaming
On Thursday, 22 June 2023, Governor Dan McKenie signed Senate Bill 948 into law, historically making Rhode Island the seventh jurisdiction to legalize online gambling in the United States.
The bill, which was initially introduced in the Senate, underwent a committee hearing process that saw the initial proposal scrutinized and amended before it was sent to the state's House of Representatives for approval.
Following a 57-11 vote of approval last Thursday, the bill was sent to Governor McKee's desk to sign or veto. With a few hours left to the expiry of the bill, the governor signed it, thereby ushering Rhode Island into the iGaming era.
As a result, starting from April 2024, players in the Ocean State will be able to play online slots and table games on their desktop or mobile devices.
In line with Rhode Island's brick-and-mortar casino laws, only players aged 21 years and older can access online casino games and mobile sports betting in the state.
The law also offers a new level of convenience to its residents who are table game lovers, as they would be able to access the table game options at Twin Rivers remotely.
Bally's Casino Monopoly Extends into iGaming
Bally's, which has a current monopoly over land-based casinos in Rhode Island, will also be the only company allowed to offer iGaming through its online division Gamesys. The company operates several gaming brands, including Tropicana Casino, Virgin Casino, and Rainbow Riches Casino.
The company will offer online casino games through its partnership with IGT, the state's recognized software provider.
Furthermore, online slot revenues in the state will be taxed at 50%, with the other half shared between Bally's and IGT. However, the law imposes a lesser 18% tax on table games.
Rhode Island Division of Gaming to Play Regulatory Role
Under the law, Rhode Island Division of Lottery will regulate the state's iGaming market. The legislation confers it with the power to develop rules and regulations for iGaming in the state. The regulator will also continue to oversee Bally's activities in the state, with a new focus on the operator's online casino operations.
In April, the regulator extended IGT's sports betting contract in the state for another three years.
With the legalization of online gaming, Rhode Island joins six other states in the US with an active and regulated iGaming market, including New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Connecticut.