Rhode Island Considering Bill To Legalize Online Poker And Join MSGIA

Last Updated on May 2, 2023 Author:Adrian Sterne

Rhode IslandSummary:

  • Rhode Island is looking at two bills that look to online gaming and online poker
  • Providence-based gaming operator Bally’s helped draft both pieces of legislation
  • The Bills would also allow Rhode Island to take part in a multi-state gaming agreement

Rhode Island has become the latest state to consider legalizing online gaming and online poker.

Two identical Bills were submitted in the Senate and the House and they are now up for review respectively at the Senate Special Legislation and Veterans Affairs Committee and the House Finance Committee. Apart from legalizing online gaming, the Bills would also authorize Rhode Island to join a multi-state online poker compact.

iGaming Bills Backed By Bally’s

SB 948 and HB 6348 were respectively put forward by Senate President Dominik Ruggerio (D-North Providence) and Rep. Gregory Constantino (D-Lincoln). The two legislators confirmed that Bally’s had a hand in drafting both pieces of legislation.

Bally’s earlier this year announced its intention to push for iGaming legalization in Rhode Island. The company, based in Providence, holds a gambling monopoly in the state, operating two properties – Bally’s Tiverton Casino & Hotel and Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort.

The proposals mentioned two companies: Bally’s (iGaming game vendor) and IGT Global Solutions Corporation (iGaming platform vendor). The state’s online gaming market would fall under the remit of the Rhode Island Lottery. If the Bills are approved, the state could launch iGaming in January 2024.

Rhode Island May Join MSIGA

A notable provision in both Bills is allowing Rhode Island to participate in an interstate online poker agreement. One such deal is currently in effect in the US, the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) which has four members – Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada and Michigan.

Under the proposals, Rhode Island would be authorized to enter into an interactive gaming reciprocal agreement with other states that allow online poker shared liquidity. This means players in Rhode Island would be able to compete with those located in other states that are also part of the agreement.

A multi-state gaming agreement provides huge benefits for the members as US poker operators are allowed to merge their players, resulting in larger player pools. Players also get to compete for much bigger prizes.

If the Bills are signed into law, Rhode Island may join MSIGA, but there’s still a long way to go. Bally’s doesn’t own an online poker platform at the moment.

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