Rhode Island lawmakers give green light to online sports betting registration; legislation awaits Gov. signature

Rhode Island Sports Betting Legislation

The State Legislature in Rhode Island has approved legislation that would remove the need for players to sign up for a sports betting account at one of the state’s casinos. 

The amendment to HB8097 is now awaiting the signature of Governor Gina Raimondo

Should Raimondo approve the proposed legislation, players in the state will be allowed to register for sportsbook accounts online. 

Before wagering, individuals’ physical location will still be checked to ensure that they are betting from within state boundaries. 

The language of sports betting registration is changed 

Earlier this month, Representatives Nicholas Mattiello and Marvin Abney put forward the proposal to remove in-person registration for sports betting. Their aim was to aid the industry’s recovery, as well as boost tax revenue. 

In the existing state legislation, sports betting accounts are defined as an account which is “in-person on the premises of a hosting facility”. 

However, Mattiello and Abney simplified the language; their proposal states that a sports betting account is something that the “patron shall use for the deposit and withdrawal of funds used for online sports wagering”.

After being approved by the General Assembly on Thursday 16th June, the Senate gave the suggested amendment the go-ahead on the same day. Last Friday, it was then passed on to the State Governor. 

Will the removal of having to sign up in-person benefit sports betting in Rhode Island? 

Mobile sports betting has been legal in Rhode Island since last September. From then up until now, players wishing to open an account have needed to do so at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln

Alongside the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, one other land-based venue in the state is permitted to operate sports betting. This is the Twin River Tiverton Casino, based in Tiverton. Both casino sportsbooks are operated by William Hill. Online sports betting in Rhode Island is offered by the state’s lottery. 

Not being able to sign up for an account digitally might have contributed to COVID-19’s impact on the sports betting industry in Rhode Island. Sports betting revenue dropped by 71.6% year-on-year, with revenue amounting to $163,472. Handle also went down, with $1.5 million wagered – 89.7% less than had been the case in May 2019.