Rhode Island mobile sports betting bill advances to Senate

8 February 2019

Rhode Island has edged closer to regulated mobile sports betting after Senate President Dominick Ruggerio’s bill was advanced to the state’s Senate for a full vote next week.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on bill S37 on February 12 after the state’s Special Legislation & Veterans Affairs Committee voted unanimously in favour of the bill.

Introduced last month, the bill sets out measures to allow the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton to offer mobile sports wagering services to consumers.

The casinos would be permitted to work with developers to create a mobile app that allows punters in Rhode Island to place a wager from anywhere inside the state’s boundaries. Operators would be required to use geolocation technology to ensure consumers outside Rhode Island could not access the app.

In order to begin betting via mobile, consumers would need to set up an account in person at the Twin Casino in Lincoln or Tiverton. Wagers would then be taken via a server-based gaming system at each casino.

Both Twin River sites are currently working with William Hill and IGT to offer sports betting in the state, via a deal agreed between the three parties in August of last year.

Rhode Island would be permitted to take 51% in tax from all revenue generated from mobile sports betting, keeping in line with laws in the state for land-based wagering.

The state moved to legalise in-person sports betting in June last year but did not launch the regulated market until November. Despite mobile betting being seemingly close, there are currently no plans to legalise online sports wagering.

During the first full month of regulation in December, punters spent more than $13m (£10.1m/€11.5m) on sports betting. Revenue for the month amounted to $957,900 between the two Twin River casinos.

The Lincoln site, which launched sports betting on November 26, took $11.1m in sports wagers, paying out $10.3m in winnings to leave revenue of $843,700. The Tiverton casino went live on December 3 and took $2m in bets, paying out $1.9m in winnings, leaving it with revenue of $123,300 for the month.