Rhode Island Governor signs mobile sports betting into law

26 March 2019

Rhode Island will expand its regulated sports betting market with the launch of the mobile wagering after Governor Gina Raimondo ratified a bill legalising the channel in the US state.

Introduced in January by Senate president Dominick Ruggerio and Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, S 37 sets out measures to allow the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton to launch mobile sports betting.

Both casinos already offer land-based sports wagering services under laws that came into effect in June 2018, but Rhode Island has been pushing to expand its market to also include digital technologies.

Raimondo’s signature follows approval from the Rhode Island House and Senate earlier this year.

When the bill comes into effect, players that have registered in-person at one of the Twin River venues will be able to place wagers via mobile devices within state borders.

Both Twin River casinos will be required to use geolocation technology to verify the players are betting within the state’s borders. Mobile wagering will be run via a server-based gaming system located on the premises of the casinos, which the bill says therefore deems bets are placed and accepted at the casino.

In terms of taxation, the International Game Technology and William Hill partnership that powers sports betting in Rhode Island will return 51% of sports wagering revenue to the staet, which is in line with the current rate for land-based sports betting in the state. A further 32% will go to the vendors, with the final 17% kept by the host facility.

“Expanding to mobile gaming would provide a convenient option for those wishing to enjoy this form of entertainment, and open up the economic benefits beyond the walls of Twin River,” Ruggerio said. “I can envision a group of friends from out-of-state spending an evening out in a local establishment where they can both watch the game and place a wager.”

Speaker Mattiello added: “This revenue, along with the revenue we anticipate from an expansion to mobile gaming is a tremendous benefit to the state. It’s an added benefit that we can capture revenue that would have otherwise gone to an illegal market.”

Rhode Island's regulated sports betting market launched in November 2018. The two Twin River casinos are currently working with William Hill and IGT to offer sports wagering, under a deal agreed between the three parties in August last year.