Senate president backs bill to bring online casino gaming to Rhode Island

This is a photo of Bally's Twin River Lincoln Casino's gaming room. (WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Rep. Gregory Costantino will be introducing legislation Thursday to allow online casino gaming in Rhode Island.

The bill, requested by Bally’s Corporation, aims to increase state revenue and “better position” the casinos in the “competitive New England gaming market.”

“Our state casinos provide an important source of revenue to fund vital programs and investments that benefit all Rhode Islanders,” noted Ruggerio and House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi in a joint statement.

Earlier this week, Bally’s cited a “dampening” in sports betting and participation since Massachusetts fully launched sports gambling this spring.

Craig Eaton, Bally’s senior vice president of Rhode Island operations, told ABC 6 News that there was a 20% decrease in sports bets placed since Massachusetts legalized all forms of sports betting.

However, if this legislation passes, Rhode Island could earn an additional $93.3 millions of gross gaming revenue in its first year, according to a recent study by Bally’s Corporation. In its fifth year, the state could make as much as $130.6 million.

Ruggerio said that if enacted, the state would have complete regulatory control of iGaming.

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