Inclusion in budget would require victory for New Jersey in fight against federal sports betting ban
Legal Sports Report

Rhode Island Governor Puts Sports Betting Revenue In Budget Plan

RI sports betting

The governor of Rhode Island is counting on revenue from sports betting to help balance the state’s budget, according to media reports.

RI and sports betting?

Gov. Gina Raimondo included $23.5 million in revenue from legal sports betting in a plan to fund state operations.

Wagering would be allowed at the state’s Twin River casino (and another one that is proposed) under the plan.

What would that take? Here’s more from the Providence Journal:

The Rhode Island constitution requires voter approval to introduce new types of gambling to the state, but companion legislation introduced by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio Thursday says previously approved ballot measures would allow sports betting as long as it takes place at Twin River’s Lincoln or proposed Tiverton casino.

The budget plan does not count on online sports wagering, although that’s an issue that may get a look in the legislature this year.

RI not ready to go on sports betting yet

Of course, there are a few hurdles for Raimondo’s plan to happen.

Rhode Island still would need to legalize sports wagering under state law. And it would require a victory for New Jersey in the US Supreme Court in its case against the federal sports betting ban, PASPA.

The latter is an issue that has already been flagged by lawmakers in the state. While analysts believe New Jersey has a good chance of winning the case, it’s not a foregone conclusion. The Bristol Courier reported that the House speaker in RI is wary of counting on sports betting revenue before SCOTUS rules.

States ramping up interest in sports wagering

Rhode Island is hardly the only state that is toying with the idea of legalizing sports betting ahead of the NJ sports betting verdict.

Legislation has either been introduced or is planned in upwards of a dozen states already:

  • Pennsylvania passed a law in 2017 that would allow for PA sports betting.
  • New York already legalized sports betting at its commercial casinos. A hearing on the subject is planned for next week in the Senate.
  • Neighboring Connecticut set the stage for sports betting regulation last year.
  • Mississippi repealed its sports wagering ban in 2017 and it appears a regulatory effort will get a look in 2018.
  • West Virginia, Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan are other states where legislative chatter has ramped up.
Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.