Following the vote of both the Senate and House in favor of HB8097 and SB 2919, online/mobile sports betting in Rhode Island will become a reality.
The next phase is the executive approval, and both bills are now lying at Governor Gina Raimondo’s office. The Governor will likely sign these bills, and mobile betting will be a matter of a few days.
Overwhelming Support for the Bills
Both the bills, HB 8097 and SB 2919, received dominant support, enabling a smoother process in the legislature. The bills addressed mobile sports betting registration in Rhode Island and were aimed at ending the need for sports players to visit a casino venue to register for an account.
For now, sports betters have to go to one of Twin River’s two casinos to submit the online registration form. Understandably, the bothersome requirement may irritate those who either don’t want to go in person due to scarcity of time or simply due to the fears of the COVID-19.
The sponsor of HB 8097, Rep. Marvin Abney, opines that once you take away the condition of registering in person at a casino, there will be plenty of more mobile registrations occurring.
William Hill and features IGT’s cutting-edge technology operates the online sports betting platform. Certainly, the operators can manage registrations in a remote manner.
It has been a year since mobile sports betting was legalized in Rhode Island back in 2019.
Interestingly, the overwhelming support does not reflect the true state of affairs in the legislature. Some of the lawmakers had voiced their concerns and disapproval.
For instance, House Minority Leader Rep. Blake Filippi was among those who were not fully convinced as they didn’t want it to move forward. Mr. Fillippi reasoned that when sports betting was initially approved and legalized, the rules stipulated that registration must be done in person.
Besides Rep. Filippi, Senator Samuel Bell also had expressed concerns as he believed that this was tantamount to expand gambling. Bell further said that mobile registration and the replacement of in-person registration should be left to the voters to decide.
Also, one lawsuit was filed against the state to put a complete stop to sports betting. However, the Superior Court denied the injunction last month. An appeal is being anticipated soon.
Rep. Filippi even questioned if mobile sports betting is even constitutional. About the legal efforts seeking an end to sports betting in Rhodes Island, he said:
“I Know this is currently on its way up to the Supreme Court, and I believe we should be cautious about undermining the state’s position before the Supreme Court.”
How Will Mobile Registration Help Sports Betting?
According to the estimates, around 14000 accounts await their registration to start betting online. That’s a huge number that might significantly affect the total handle each month. Moreover, it would also have increased the tax revenue that Rhode Island could receive through the increased betting activity.