Rhode Island’s Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday voted in favor of S7200, a sweeping appropriations bill that includes a 15-page section that calls for legal RI sports betting. The bill passed the House, 66-7, late Friday and after the nod of approval from the Finance Committee, will now move on to the full Senate floor for a vote later this week. The bill is not currently on the Senate calendar for today or Wednesday.
It’s likely that the bill will pass the Senate with no problem, and that Governor Gina Raimondo will sign it into law. Raimondo has a $23.5 million line item in her upcoming budget earmarked as revenue from sports betting.
The bill allows for sports betting at Rhode Island’s two casinos, Twin River and Tiverton. The state’s lottery would regulate sports betting and mobile sports wagering would be limited to on-premises, at least for the time being.
Rhode Island Poised to Become Second State in Post-PASPA Era to Pass New Legislation That Legalizes Sports Betting.
Senate Finance approves proposed $9.6 billion budget.
— katherine gregg (@kathyprojo) June 19, 2018
Should the bill sail through the Senate, and when Raimondo signs it, Rhode Island will become the second state since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act on May 14 to pass a sports betting law. New Jersey, which accepted its first bet at Monmouth Park on June 14 was the first. Delaware, which did not need to pass new laws, was the first state to accept sports bets in the post-PASPA era when it did so beginning June 5.
The Rhode Island bill does have a few peculiarities – in particular, it expressly forbids the payment of an “integrity fee” or “royalty,” which the professional leagues have been lobbying for. Gaming operators will be responsible for paying for their own integrity monitoring. It calls for the cities of Lincoln and Tiverton, home of the two casinos, to be paid $100,000 per year for “hosting” sports betting and it calls for 51 percent of sports wagering revenue to go to the state –displacing Pennsylvania as the highest tax rate by a whopping 15 percent (over PA’s effective rate of 36).