The Rhode Island Senate has approved legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick J Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence) that would allow mobile sports wagering through the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton.

The legislation (2019-S 0037A) would enable the creation of an app consumers could use to access the sports gaming offerings at Twin River from any location within the parameters of the state of Rhode Island. Consumers must, however, initially set up their accounts in person at Twin River, and thereafter could place a wager from anywhere in the state.

They must also be physically in the state of Rhode Island in order to wager. The system would utilize geolocation technology to determine the location of any person placing a wager, and would not accept wagers from outside of the state’s boundaries.

“The new in-person sportsbook that opened in November has been very popular, with lines sometimes stretching out the doors,” said President Ruggerio. “It is an entertainment option that many Rhode Islanders enjoy, and visitors from outside the state are also flocking to our gaming facilities to place their wagers on sporting events.

“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. 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.”

Similar to other states, such as New Jersey, wagering is received upon a server-based gaming system located on the premises of the casinos, and therefore deemed to be placed and accepted at the casino. The State of Rhode Island would continue to receive 51 per cent of all winnings from sports wagering, among the highest rates in the country.

“Revenue from sports gaming supports critical state services, like road and bridge repairs, education and human services. This revenue offsets reliance on taxes for state needs,” added Ruggerio. “It is estimated that 97 percent of sports betting takes place illegally. This is an opportunity to give Rhode Islanders and visitors a legal avenue to participate in an activity they enjoy, while providing a very tangible benefit to our state.”

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation (2019-H 5241) has been introduced by Speaker of the House Nicholas A Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston).