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Republicans Criticise Rhode Island Gambling Bill

Rhode Island

The process of introducing online sports gambling to the US state of Rhode Island appears to have become more complicated after an intervention by local Republicans.

The Rhode Island Republican Party has come out strongly against the planned legislation, that would extend the ability of Rhode Island citizens to bet on sport, stating that the Bill was in violation of the Rhode Island constitution, and suggesting that the party would file a legal case against it.

Last month Bill S 37, which was proposed by Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, was passed on a 30-4 vote in the Rhode Island Senate, and is currently under discussion in the House as House Bill 5241. If it passes the house, it will then go forward to Governor Gina Riamondo to sign.

Rhode Island was one of the first states in the US to introduce regulated sports betting, back in June 2018; a month after the Supreme Court struck down the PASPA Act. Sports betting in the state is currently permitted at two casinos: The Twin River Casino in Lincoln, and the Tiverton Casino in Tiverton, both of which are owned by Twin River Management Group.

Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell issued a statement in which he claimed that the Bill must be approved by voters before it becomes state law and that the party is considering a lawsuit. In response, Sen. Ruggerio said that it was surprised by the approach of the Republican Party as Mr Bell had previously spoken out in favour of increased individual liberties.

There have also been objections to the fact that with the passing of the bill, the Twin River organisation would have a monopoly on sports betting in the state, while the precise details of how the online sports betting sector would be structured and monitored have also yet to be agreed.

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