Last Updated on July 20, 2020
The sports betting landscape continues to change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and Rhode Island is the latest state to change its rules when it comes to online sports betting. With retail sportsbooks closed, for the time being, some states are dropping the need for in-person sign-ups for online sports betting. Rhode Island is joining the party.
State lawmakers recently approved the bill that will make it legal for bettors to register online. Senator Dominick Ruggerio and Speaker Nicholas Mattiello sponsored the bill that is almost certainly going to be signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo.
“This is one responsible move we can make to help counter some of the revenue losses the state has experienced during the pandemic,” Ruggerio told Melanie DaSilva of WPRI12. “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.”
COVID-19 Brings End To In-Person Registration
In the era of COVID-19, states are struggling to replace lost revenue. Making online sports betting accessible to the masses is one creative way for states to replenish the coffers.
“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,” Mattiello said.
This is big news for online sports betting in Rhode Island. Online sports betting went live in late 2019, but in-person sign-ups was a significant hurdle for some bettors. Of course, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country by landmass, but even so, adding the in-person registration is a good way to dissuade people from betting.
Larger states like Illinois have made the same decision to suspend in-person registration due to the outbreak of coronavirus. It’s a very simple and easy way to keep people safe.