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Rhode Island a Signature Away from Having a Legal Sports Betting Market

Date Posted: June 22, 2018

Legalized sports betting is coming to Rhode Island as soon as Governor Gina Raimondo approves Bill S7200A. Upon approval, the Rhode Island sports betting market will be provided by IGT.

With Rhode Island expected to start allowing sportsbook this year, the US state is in a better position to provide sports betting for the upcoming NFL season than New York. Lawmakers of New York failed to get their proposed sports betting bill approved before the deadline set last Wednesday.

Rhode Island’s Budget Bill

The S7200A bill is Raimondo’s fiscal 2019 budget for Rhode Island. About US$23.5 million of the US$9.6 billion budget is expected to come from legalized sports betting. With the state’s senate approval of the budget, all that is needed now is Raimondo’s signature. Rhode Island’s state governor said that she will sign the bill this Friday.

The budget plan significantly increased Rhode Island’s record spending from US$330 million to US$9.6 billion. Raimondo said that most of the money will increase state employees’ salaries and fund a school reconstruction plan that costs approximately US$1 billion.

Raimondo said:

“While no budget is perfect, the budget passed this evening protects our progress, expands our commitment to working families, Rhode Islanders with developmental disabilities and our foster families,”

Software provider IGT will provide the betting technology to Rhode Island punters within the Twin River Casino in Lincoln once the bill is approved. The company’s sportsbook solutions will also be used in a new business in Tiverton. Rhode Island Lottery body will oversee the sports betting operation across the state’s casinos.

IGT, a gaming solutions company, was picked as it was the only bidder for the state’s sports betting contract in May. In addition, IGT also provides the state’s lottery.

Experts estimate that residents will spend about US$910 million in sports betting per year.  IGT’s share is now projected to reach US$17.75 million. Partner casinos, on the other hand, are expected to earn US$7.8 million.

Related: New York, 2 Other States Rush to Launch Full-Scale Betting Market in Time for NFL

New York Misses the Deadline to Pass Sportsbook Bill

New York legislators missed the June 20 deadline to approve the sportsbook bill. The state’s legislative session ended on Wednesday this week.

Republican Senator John Bonacic said:

“The Assembly did not have sufficient votes to move the bill. There was just no appetite for gaming.”

Bonacic introduced a betting bill which includes an integrity fee that sports betting operators need to cover. The integrity fee was about 0.25 percent of the revenue operators earn from sports wagers. Fees will be paid to US sporting leagues such as the NBA and MLB. The last version of the bill changed the integrity fee to 0.20 percent of sportsbook revenue.

With legislators missing the deadline to pass the bill, sportsbook operators and US sports league will miss out on the high projected revenue to be supposedly earned from sports wagers during the next NFL and NBA season. For now, New York lawmakers will need to wait until January 2019 to work on passing a bill that will legalize sports betting in the state.

The US sportsbook market has been growing ever since the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. At this time, Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey have a legalized sports betting scene. Joining these US states in providing legal sports wagers soon are Mississippi, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Rhode Island.

Related: NBA Pushes Forward with US Sports Betting Legalization