STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly approved a measure today to make it easier to participate in mobile sports gaming in Rhode Island.

The bill (2020-S 2919, 2020-H 8097), which now heads to the governor’s desk, will allow people to register online to use Rhode Island’s mobile app for sports wagering, rather than having to sign up in person at Twin River in Lincoln or Tiverton. The in-person signup was required to boost security when the state launched the app last year, but mobile sports wagering executives say it has hindered signups, particularly at a time when many are wary about visiting public places.

“This is one responsible move we can make to help counter some of the revenue losses the state has experienced during the pandemic. Gaming and the lottery are our state’s third-largest source of revenue, and anything we can safely do to make up for some of the lost revenue helps to support public services,” said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), who sponsored the Senate bill.

Said House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello (D-Dist. 15, Cranston), who sponsored the bill in the House, “Making it more convenient to use our mobile sports wagering app provides an entertainment option that you can participate in from the safety and comfort of your own home. There is sufficient security as well as safeguards in the program to ensure that users are placing their bets from within Rhode Island and complying with our state’s laws, so we can eliminate in-person signups without compromising anything. Hopefully this added convenience will help people enjoy the experience at a time when entertainment options are very limited, and help raise revenue for Rhode Island,”

While online sports betting ground to a halt as virtually all professional sports stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic, several professional leagues have announced plans to resume play later this summer.

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