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Rhode Island Governor Signs Bill Extending Bally's Casino Monopoly to Online Gaming

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee has signed Senate Bill 948 into law, granting Bally's an extended monopoly over the state's gambling industry by expanding into online gaming.

Rhode Island Governor Signs Bill Extending Bally's Casino Monopoly to Online Gaming

The bill, which was approved by lawmakers in the Rhode Island House and Senate, has now received the governor's signature just before the deadline. As a result, online slots and table games will be available to Rhode Island residents starting from April 2024.


Senate President Dominick J Ruggerio, who sponsored the bill, highlighted the convenience it brings to Rhode Islanders, allowing them to play existing table games offered at Twin River via their mobile devices. He emphasized that the legislation is targeted towards mature users, includes provisions for problem gambling education, and maintains the current revenue allocation percentages.


Under the new law, Bally's monopoly over the state's casinos extends to online gaming, with its online arm Gamesys becoming the exclusive operator in Rhode Island. Gamesys operates several popular brands, such as Virgin Casino, Tropicana Casino, and Rainbow Riches Casino. The law imposes a 50% tax on online slot revenue, with the remaining revenue being divided between Bally's and IGT. Table games will be subject to a lower 18% revenue tax.

Mobile sports betting in Rhode Island will only be accessible to individuals aged 21 and older, in alignment with the existing land-based regulations. The Rhode Island Division of the Lottery, responsible for overseeing Bally's casinos in the state, will also regulate the newly legalized online gaming. The division's director, Mark Furcolo, will develop reasonable rules and regulations for the industry.


To ensure compliance with state boundaries, geolocation technology will be employed to confirm that players are physically present within Rhode Island. However, there are certain circumstances outlined in the law that permit betting out of state when the Rhode Island Division of the Lottery has established a reciprocal agreement with another state regulator.


It is worth noting that Bally's and its gaming supplier IGT were previously granted a 20-year no-bid contract in 2021 to operate both of Rhode Island's land-based casinos, Bally's Twin Rivers Lincoln Casino Resort and Bally's Tiverton Casino & Hotel. The contract will remain in effect until 2043.


Rhode Island joins a limited number of states where online gaming is legal, including New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Connecticut. The expansion into online casinos is expected to bring significant revenue, as online gaming often outpaces sports betting in terms of financial returns.

By fLEXI tEAM

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