Taking a break from online poker legislation, most states are now focusing on sports betting, since the US Supreme Court decided to strike down PASPA, an act that heavily restricted the activity in nation. The state of Rhode Island is the third in the US to decide to legalize sports betting. With Delaware and New Jersey being the first, Rhode Island helps extend the list of states offering such wagering, with the region set to earn 51% of revenues from the industry.
Governor Gina Raimondo signed the state’s $9.6b budget for the next fiscal year on Friday, legalizing sports betting in the process and giving the state a huge chunk of wagering revenues. The new fiscal year starts on July 1st, with the budget including $23.5m in new revenues set to come from sports betting.
The new wagering option is not expected to go live until October 1st, but still gives the state time to offer the activity during the upcoming football season, which should prove to be lucrative. Even though the state is starting later on in the year, they should still have an edge on other states in the region as they already are a few steps ahead.
Rhode Island will not offer online sports wagering, with players having to place their bets at land-based facilities. This may eventually put the state at a disadvantage as other states like Connecticut and Massachusetts, will eventually allow their players to place sports bets online.
Lawmakers in every state have varying concerns involving sports betting. The Department of Revenue oversees the Rhode Island Lottery, the organization that will be operating sports betting, along with their lottery games. The department is taking a patient approach to online wagering. A spokesman for the department, Paul Grimaldi, commented that they wanted to start small and ensure an operational system was in place for casinos before moving on to online or mobile wagering.
For sports betting technology used in the state, International Game Technology PLC was chosen as the provider. Also known as IGT, the company is based in the UK and will have a major office in Providence, the capital city of Rhode Island.