Legislators consider making it easier to sign up for mobile sports betting

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Facing a steep drop in revenue, state legislators are considering making it easier to sign up for mobile sports betting.

“I think sports betting is a good thing, especially with people stuck at home,” said Duanne McBride of Providence. “People are bored, and need something to do.”

Signing up for mobile sports betting in Rhode Island currently requires visiting Twin River Casino in-person first, with security named as a reason.

But now, legislators are considering dropping that requirement.

“Seems like a smart idea, as opposed to people actually going into a place where there are a lot of people right now,” McBride said.

And it’s not just about COVID safety. It’s also about sports book revenue, which plummeted from more than $3 million in January to only about $27,000 in April.

“Being a Rhode Island resident, I definitely want to see the money go back into Rhode Island,” McBride said.

But McBride isn’t sure that an easier sign-up process will convince more people to do it, since so many sports aren’t playing.

“There’s not much going on at all as far as sports betting, so that’s a tough deal right now,” he said.

And others say money is too tight in these uncertain times to be gambling.

“Especially when it comes down to betting, right now is not the time,” said Larry Gist of Providence. “Right now is the time to be saving that money, putting that money up, because only God knows what’s going to happen.”

Lottery spokesman Paul Grimaldi says the Lottery would work to make sure mobile signup is secure should a bill pass.

Legislation was in introduced in the House on Wednesday, and matching legislation is expected to be introduced in the Senate this week.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island