Bally's Corporation has finally managed to convince the Rhode Island Senate President and several other lawmakers to support an iGaming legislation. This news comes a few months after the company started campaigning for the state to legalize online casinos.
The company had good reasons to support iGaming. For instance, the neighboring states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts, have legalized online casinos and sports betting. According to Bally's, the expansion of gaming in neighboring states will determine how much less Rhode Island will receive in tax revenue.
iGaming is legal in New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The States of Maryland and New York are also considering laws to legalize iGaming.
According to Bally's Senior Vice President, the legalization of iGaming in Rhode Island will give his company a competitive advantage. Craig Eaton also told the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce that the expansion of gaming would ensure good tax revenue to the state.
President Dominick Ruggerio invited Bally's to help write an iGaming bill. Ruggerio has introduced a gambling expansion bill barely three months since Bally's asked for gaming expansion.
SB948 Bill Recommends 50 Percent Tax
Bally's is the only gambling operator in Rhode Island. It runs the only two gaming properties in the state, including Bally's Tiverton and Bally's Twin River Lincoln.
Bally's prediction about the expansion of gambling in neighboring states affecting tax revenue for Rhode Island has come true. This was enough to convince the state's officials, leading to the birth of SB948.
The bill recommends an 18 percent tax on online table games and 50 percent on online slots. There is no detail about the licensing fee.
Ruggerio and six others sponsored the bill. In fact, the bill has moved to the Senate Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Rhode Island is a small state with around 1.2 million residents. Yet, state officials believe that the state will be able to generate around $100 million in taxes once gaming is expanded to online venues. Based on the revenue other states generate from online casinos, Rhode Island officials might be right.
For instance, sports betting news dominates most news channels. But, the activity does not generate as much revenue as online casinos.
For example, New Jersey sports betting generated slightly over $760 million in 2022. Meanwhile, online casinos generated $1.66 billion in the same year.
Rhode Island Is Here to Stay
Bally's agreed with the state to continue being the only casino operator in the state until 2036. This agreement came in in 2021 in exchange for at least a $100 million investment into its casino properties.
The agreement also required the casino operator to partner with IGT to offer 50 percent of slot machines on their floor. The game developer is also the state's lottery operator and video lottery terminals supplier.
Bally's has already started innovations at its properties. It spent $60 million to add another 40,000 square feet to the Twin Rivers casino floor.
Another $40 million was spent on building a Korean day spa and other renovations at the Lincoln Investment.