Gambling Legislation

Rhode Island House backs online gaming legislation

The last stop for the online casino and poker bill is Governor McKee’s desk

The prospects for the legalization of online casinos and poker this year looked bleak in Rhode Island. On Thursday, however, the state’s House of Representatives approved Bill 57-11, which paves the way for online casinos to operate legally. Governor Daniel McKee will now have the final say on whether to sign the bill into law.

Last week, a 30-to-four vote in the Senate resulted in the approval of a bill. The House subsequently passed an identical version of the bill, SB 948, following their passage of HB 6348. After undergoing multiple alterations and discussions within the House, the bill has been approved as is. Thus, there is no necessity to return to the Senate for further authorization.

Rhode Island is set to join the ranks of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware as a state with a fully operational online casino pending the governor’s signature. Several states, including New York, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Iowa and New Hampshire, have mulled over the implementation of online casino legislation this year. However, these discussions proved to be unsuccessful in several.

A couple of months back, Rhode Island was facing an adverse situation. However, the introduction of the online casino bill by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio toward the end of April has remarkably changed the game for gamblers in the state. Thanks to the backing of Chamber President K. Joseph Shekarchi, the legislation swiftly made its way through both chambers.

Rhode Island’s game was smooth sailing due to its simplicity. The state’s smallest county in each area boasts a population of over one million, resulting in a limited number of licensees. Rhode Island Lottery partners have been targeted by lawmakers to enhance the earnings generated by gaming. Bally and IGT, two government-approved gaming corporations, are involved in various facets of the gambling industry, including casinos and games.

Rhode Island benefits significantly from gambling, as it ranks third in generating revenue for the state. To gain an edge over companies in Massachusetts and Connecticut, legislators view iGaming as a viable addition to those revenue streams. It’s predicted that Bally’s iGaming platform has the potential to yield $130 million in yearly profits as the industry expands.

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