Legal sports betting in Rhode Island is nearly a reality
Legal Sports Report

Rhode Island Sports Betting Is Coming: House Approves Budget, Still Needs Senate Approval

RI sports betting bill

This is a developing story and will be updated.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a budget that includes legal sports betting at the two casinos in the state late on Friday night.

The budget must still be approved by the state Senate.

Sports gambling has been a part of budget discussions for much of the year, but it wasn’t clear if it would survive the final budget process in Rhode Island. Now Rhode Island sports betting appears to be almost a reality.

What’s in the RI deal?

Here is the full legislation that would legalize wagering in the state. The legislation allows wagering in Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton. Mobile wagering does not appear to be authorized.

How is sports betting revenue split up in the state? From the bill:

(1) To the state, fifty-one percent (51%) of sports wagering revenue;

(2) To the state’s authorized sports wagering vendor, thirty-two percent (32%) of sports wagering revenue; and

(3) To the host facilities, seventeen percent (17%) of sports wagering revenue

Also:

The town of Lincoln shall be paid an annual flat fee of one hundred thousand dollars 15 ($100,000) and the town of Tiverton shall be paid an annual flat fee of one hundred thousand dollars 16 ($100,000) in compensation for serving as the host communities for sports wagering.

Other items of note:

  • The RI lottery is in charge of rules and regulation of the industry.
  • The minimum age to bet is 18.

No college betting on…

The bill prohibits betting on:

…any collegiate sports or athletic event that takes place in Rhode Island or a sports contest or athletic event in which any Rhode Island college team participates, regardless of where the event takes place.

Lots of legal sports betting

If RI approves sports betting, it would join a number of states with legal wagering.

  • Delaware and New Jersey both launched wagering this month.
  • Nevada has had legal wagering for decades.
  • West Virginia and Mississippi appear poised to roll out wagering by NFL season, with Pennsylvania going live later this year or later or in 2019.
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.