Last month, the Rhode Island Senate pushed through a sports betting bill that included the operation of legal RI online sports betting, giving hope to sports bettors in Rhode Island who don't have access to the only two RI sportsbooks at the Twin River Casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton. Twin River Sportsbook launched sports betting in Lincoln, RI during November, and then the Tiverton location shortly followed. William Hill is the company powering the Rhode Island sportsbooks.
Now thanks to the latest Rhode Island House vote, online sports betting looks like it will soon be a reality. The good news came on Tuesday, March 12 when the House approved the RI sports betting measure that includes mobile sports betting in Rhode Island by a 64-8 margin. It now travels to Gov. Gina Raimondo, who is reportedly ready to sign the bill according to her press secretary.
Rhode Island Mobile Sports Betting Could Mean Big Revenue For The State
Since the state legalized sports betting, Democrats have been pushing for RI mobile sports betting. There are several reasons for this, one being because of the inability for most prospective sports bettors to get to the two Twin River casinos. As neighboring states consider their own sports betting laws, there is the fear that Rhode Island could lose out on revenue. Democratic Rep. Anastasia Williams pushed hard for Rhode Island online sports betting legalization, saying they need this and need it now. It's also why Gov. Raimondo included RI sports betting revenue in her latest budget proposal beginning July 1, including $30 million total from sports betting and $3 million specifically from RI mobile sports betting. House Speaker Mattiello wants mobile sports betting in Rhode Island to have safeguards in place for those who will bet on sports.
Some Question Legality Of RI Mobile Sports Betting
Even though the House vote showed overwhelming support for legal mobile sports betting in Rhode Island, some House Republicans have questioned the legality to pass a mobile sports betting bill without a public vote, stating voter-approved gambling at the Twin River Casino locations did not include legal sports betting in the state. One of these members is Republican Rep. Blake Filippi, who supports sports betting in Rhode Island but also questions its legality without a public vote. Filippi has continued to push for the Rhode Island Supreme Court's opinion on the matter. Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell has considered suing over the matter to push hard for voter approval for RI mobile sports betting. Despite these outliers, it seems inevitable that Rhode Island will soon have mobile sports betting. Gov. Raimondo is expected to sign the bill that will make Rhode Island online sports betting legal.