In addition to legal sports betting, Rhode Islanders could be hitting the online slots and tables starting next year following the passage of iGaming legislation in the New England state.
Gov. Dan McKee signed legislation this week that will bring iGaming to Rhode Island as early as March of 2024.
Those 21 and older in the state will be able to access online casino gaming via their computer or mobile apps, the same way they can access online sports betting sites with the state’s sole legal provider, Sportsbook Rhode Island.
The legislation allows the lottery division of the state's Department of Revenue to implement iGaming at the Twin River and Tiverton casinos. It also allows the division to enter into contracts with the Rhode Island sports betting affiliates of Bally Bet owner Bally's Corp. to be the exclusive vendor of online slots and table games in the New England state. Bally’s owns and manages the two casinos.
“This legislation provides an added convenience to Rhode Islanders who would like to play the existing table games offered at Twin River via their mobile devices,” said Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, who introduced one of the bills, in a press release. “It helps ensure the continued strength of the state facilities in the competitive regional gaming market, and in so doing protects an important revenue stream that provides funding for vital state programs and investments.”
“The time has come for us to take this step and be competitive with our neighbors,” said Rep. Gregory Costantino, the House sponsor, in the release. “I’m gratified that we were able to amend the original bill to restrict online table games to users over the age of 21 and that Bally’s has also agreed to provide additional resources to educate young people about problem gaming. “
We'll do it live
Residents will have to be 21 or older to engage in iGaming, compared to 18 or older for online sports betting. The state will receive 61% of online slot gaming revenue, and the towns of Lincoln and Tiverton will receive 1.45%. For online table gaming, the state will receive 15.5% of the revenue and the towns get 1%. Bally's gets the rest.
The twist with Rhode Island’s iGaming framework is that all table gaming must have a live dealer.
“A similar approach has been taken in many places around the country, including in New Jersey, where their law requires bets to be wagered in Atlantic City,” the release noted. “A miniature casino is constructed, much like a television studio, and the games are simulcast to people playing through their mobile devices.”