With sports betting in Rhode Island still in its early stages, plans are being made to challenge the legality of the bill as detailed in a lawsuit prepared by the state’s former Republican Party Chair Brandon Bell.
The bill had previously been hailed as a hugely positive development for the spread of online gambling and affiliate marketing in the US. The New England state currently only permits betting at two retail properties, Lincoln’s Twin River Casino and the Tiverton Casino Hotel.
The lawsuit presented by Bell is centralised around the principle that the legal process undertaken by officials to legalize sports wagering last year was allegedly unconstitutional and should now be subject to a referendum, giving the final say on the matter to the Ocean State public.
The suit argues that sports betting is a different type of gambling than table games which were approved by voters in 2012 and 2016. Furthermore, it seeks to put the brakes on the state’s plans to introduce mobile sports betting which is expected to be introduced in Q4 this year.
The office of Governor Gina Raimondo has responded with a statement to the press saying: “Multiple legal opinions have affirmed that sports betting was already approved by the voters. The revenue from sports betting supports investments in education, health care, infrastructure and more, and we remain confident that it will be upheld in court.”
Under the auspices of Rhode Island’s sports betting laws, the state lottery is responsible for the regulation of the business. IGT works with the lottery and casinos to facilitate sports wagering.