Replacing in-person betting with mobile wagering

For the sports betting industry, PASPA of 1992 being struck down meant that each state could legalise and regulate local betting within their territories

On 14 May 14 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling that struck the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection (PASPA) of 1992 down. For the sports betting industry, this meant that each state could legalise and regulate local betting within their borders or territories.

Since then, many states immediately moved to consider legalising sports betting. States such as New Jersey, Delaware and Rhode Island were one of the first few that were quick to make a move. That being said, Rhode Island initially only allowed in-person betting.

In Rhode Island, sports betting was specifically signed into law by Governor Gina Raimando on 22 June 2018. Betting was officially launched just five months after.

Only two sports betting operations were allowed in the state. Twin River Casino properties are allowed to take bets from the locals. Meanwhile, the locals can still place online bets outside these particular casinos, as long as the bookies are based offshore.

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Locals could also place their bets online, as long as they registered in either of the Twin River Casinos in the state, in person. When betting online or through mobile devices, they were only to do so within the casinos’ facilities.

In 2019, the state revised its betting laws and lifted restrictions, which previously limited sports betting to within the walls of Twin River Casinos.

As a result, William Hill stepped in to work with Information Game Technology, providing an online sports book for Twin River Casino.

Since it is the Rhode Island Lottery, which regulates gambling in the state, Twin River Casino has no competition just yet. Betting giants like FanDuel and DraftKings are, as it stands, not allowed to offer their services in this state.

Rhode Island is missing out on betting revenues, as online betting is fast becoming the preferred way placing sports bets. While mobile betting is permitted, people must register in-person and place their bets within the licensed casino premises, limitations that many are not comfortable with.

States such as New Jersey are gaining revenues from allowing online sports betting in general.

In fact, 80 to 90% of the monthly betting handle in New Jersey is from the online market. Punters outside of New Jersey are creating their accounts with New Jersey licensed bookies.

However, things may change for Rhode Island. Punters may be delighted to know that online betting may soon be within their reach, without having to go to the licensed casinos.

The sports betting legislation may soon be altered yet again. House of Representatives members Nicholas Mattiello and Marvin Abney introduced the changes on the wording of the current betting bill to allow remote registration on online sports books.

In a statement, they justified this move by saying: “Especially during these times of social distancing, enabling people to register online for sports gaming provides an added convenience that will also enhance revenue for the people of our state. With many team sports ready to resume play shortly, this will provide a safe entertainment option for Rhode Islanders to participate in sports gaming from their homes.”

Based on reports, the bill introduced by Mattielo and Abney removes 16 words from the current legislation to allow the modernisation of this bill.

The change states that the definition of an online gaming account will be amended as: “…an account opened by a patron that such patron shall use for the deposit and withdrawal of funds used for online sports wagering.”

This may not exactly mean that the state will finally allow other operators to offer their online services within the state. It means that other betting sports book giants like FanDuel and DraftKings would still be unable to offer their services locally.

This move may help the state gain more revenue. However, the lack of options may still make the locals want to bet on offshore bookies. After all, they’re not really prohibited to place their bets with an offshore casino even if they wish to.

This means that they can still place bets on casinos based in Malta or other casinos or sports books that are based in states where online betting is already legal and regulated.

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