Gov. Daniel McKee (D) signed the Rhode Island’s iGaming bill into law this week, making the Ocean State the seventh in the country to legalize iGaming.
The signing comes a week after the House of Representatives approved SB 948, a bill to legalize live online table games and online slots, by a 57-11 vote. Slight changes were made to the bill, but the Senate concurred on the amendments.
The bill allows online slot games and live online table games which are simulcasted from a remote location and feature live on-screen dealers. This live-deal provision potentially circumvents concerns about the bill’s constitutionality, which many believe require online table games to have at least “one live person” to be in line with state regulations.
Bally’s Remains As Only Operator
The bill will allow Bally online casino as the only iGaming operator in Rhode Island. iGaming in Rhode Island will be eligible to launch on Jan. 1, 2024.
President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-4) applauded the governor signing the legislation into law.
“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,” Ruggerio said in a published comment. “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 investment.”
The state will retain full regulatory power over iGaming.
According to the bill:
- Players will have to register iGaming accounts in person at the Bally’s casino in Rhode Island
- Players must be at least 21 to participate
- Bally’s will offer games through the IGT platform, which currently operates in brick-and-mortar casinos throughout the state
Rhode Island joins New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, West Virginia, Delaware, and Connecticut in legalizing iGaming.
Millions Estimated in Tax Revenue
The state will impose a tax of 61% on online slot revenue and 15.5% from online table game revenues.
According to an iGaming tax revenue study commissioned by Bally’s Corporation, Rhode Island could see an additional $93.3 million in gross gaming revenue in its first year, as as much as $130.6 million by its fifth year of operation.
This translates to roughly $210 million in additional tax revenue for the state over a five year period.