Rhode Island iGaming Bill Sent to Governor

The state is poised to become the seventh to legalize online gaming

online slots

Rhode Island is on the precipice of becoming the seventh state to legalize iGaming.

The House of Representatives approved SB 948, a bill to legalize live online table games and online slots games, by a 57-11 vote on Thursday afternoon. Slight changes were made to the bill, but the Senate concurred on the amendments and the bill has been sent to Gov. Daniel McKee (D) to be potentially signed into law.

The bill was approved by the Senate 30-4 last week.

Bally’s Will Be Only Game in Town

If signed into law, the Bally online casino will be the only approved iGaming operator in Rhode Island. The bill only allows live online table games which are simulcasted from a remote location and feature live on-screen dealers. This live-deal provision potentially circumvents concerns about the bill’s constitutionality, which many believe require online table games to have at least “one live person” to be in line with state regulations.

According to the bill, iGaming in Rhode Island will be eligible to launch on Jan. 1, 2024.

President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-4) authored and presented the bill back in April.

“This legislation is a first step in the public review process around potential iGaming in Rhode Island,” Ruggerio and speaker K. Joseph Shekarch said in a press release. “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 legislation we sponsored known as the Marc A. Crisafulli Act. It is imperative that we continue to explore all avenues to protect and bolster our competitive position, including the potential for iGaming.”

The state will retain full regulatory power over iGaming.

According to the bill:

  • Players will have to register iGaming accounts in person at the Bally’s casino in Rhode Island
  • Players must be at least 21 to participate
  • Bally’s will offer games through the IGT platform, which currently operates in brick-and-mortar casinos throughout the state

If approved, Rhode Island will join New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, West Virginia, Delaware, and Connecticut in legalizing iGaming.

Millions Estimated in Tax Revenue

The state will impose a tax of 61% on online slot revenue and 15.5% from online table game revenues.

According to an iGaming tax revenue study commissioned by Bally’s Corporation, Rhode Island could see an additional $93.3 million in gross gaming revenue in its first year, as as much as $130.6 million by its fifth year of operation.

This translates to roughly $210 million in additional tax revenue for the state over a five year period.

Robert Linnehan

Robert Linnehan

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling. Editing/writing/creating a newsletter for readers across all formats.