Rhode Island online casino bill signed into law

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Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee signed SB948 into law on Tuesday, saving 2023 from a year with no regulated online casino expansion. While there was remarkably little fanfare around the event, some lawmakers did comment on the new law.

“This legislation provides an added convenience to Rhode Islanders who would like to play the existing table games offered at Twin River via their mobile devices,” said Senate President Dominick Ruggerio. “It helps ensure the continued strength of the state facilities in the competitive regional gaming market, and in so doing protects an important revenue stream that provides funding for vital state programs and investments.”

“This is a focused version of iGaming that is ready for passage and implementation. This iGaming legislation is constitutional, is geared to mature users, contains education provisions for problem gamblers, and preserves the revenue allocation percentages as they are currently in place.”

“The time has come for us to take this step and be competitive with our neighbors,” added Rep. Gregory Costantino. “I’m gratified that we were able to amend the original bill to restrict online table games to users over the age of 21 and that Bally’s has also agreed to provide additional resources to educate young people about problem gaming.”

The lack of fanfare might stem from the fact that the scope of the bill is relatively small. The setup allows for a monopoly between Twin River owner Bally’s and official vendor IGT.

Tax rates for the new endeavor are 61% on online slots and 15% on table games. On top of that, with the revenue sharing agreement, the state and IGT will net 85% of slot revenue and 51.5% of online table games revenue.

The expected rollout of the Rhode Island online casino product is March 2024.