Rhode Island governor signs sports betting amendment into law

The Rhode Island legislature has corrected a major flaw in the state’s sports betting laws.

Yesterday, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed an amendment into law that would allow potential sports bettors to complete their online account registration remotely without having to visit one of the state’s casinos.

This comes after the amendment bills, HB 8907 and SB 2919, were approved by lawmakers and sent to Raimondo for final approval.

The amendment

With the passage of the amendment, Rhode Islanders can now complete the registration of online sports betting accounts anywhere within state lines.

Prior to the passage of the amendment, bettors could begin the registration process remotely rom anywhere within the state. However, bettors were required to complete a second registration step that involved visiting a physical casino sportsbook.

Remote registration should be available to Rhode Islanders roughly one month after the bill becomes law.

The amendment also changed the definition of an online gaming account to “an account opened by a patron that such patron shall use for the deposit and withdrawal of funds used for online sports wagering.”

The amendment included changes to the existing legal language regarding geolocation so that it will only be necessary “at the time when the player is wagering” and not “when the player logs into the system.”

This means that a bettor’s physical location will be checked before a sports bet is placed, not when the app is opened.

States with remote registration

Now that Rhode Island has scrapped its in-person registration requirements, there are only three states that require bettors to register online sports betting accounts at a physical location.

Two of those states, Illinois and Iowa, have dates for when remote registration will be allowed. Bettors in Iowa will be able to create their sports betting accounts remotely starting in January 2021, while Illinois’ requirement will expire once the first $20m online-only sports betting license is approved.

Nevada is the only other state that requires bettors to create their online betting accounts in person permanently.

Sports betting in Rhode Island

Sports betting in Rhode Island was initially restricted to two land-based casinos, which was detrimental to the market. However, in August 2019, the Twin River branded mobile sports betting app went live in the state.

Now that the state has a mobile betting option, residents can place bets using the mobile app, rather than travel across the state to visit one of the two land-based sportsbooks.

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