Rhode Island quietly became the seventh state with legal online casino gambling. On June 20, Gov. Dan McKee signed the iGaming bill into law. SB948 permits online slots and table games to launch as early as March 1.
The only evidence that “Little Rhody” added legal online casino gambling on Tuesday showed up on the Rhode Island General Assembly site today. Perhaps because the Ocean State’s online gambling “marketplace” will be a monopoly, there was no fanfare.
None of McKee’s tweets or press releases touted the bill becoming law. Most of the press releases, tweets, and official acts related to him legalizing Juneteenth as a state holiday.
By contrast, North Carolina’s governor held a signing ceremony on June 14 for that state’s new sports betting law.
Meanwhile, HB6348/SB948 names Bally’s Corporation (Bally’s Corporation 15,38 +3,29%) and London-based International Game Technology (IGT) (International Game Technology PLC 31,64 +0,57%) as the providers of the new online casino gambling site. Both are the backend of Sportsbook Rhode Island, which is the Rhode Island Lottery’s sports betting product.
The State Lottery Division of the Department of Revenue will serve as the online casino gambling site’s regulator.
Rhode Island joins these states that have been offering iGaming for years:
Nevada (online poker only)
Bally’s Will Pay a High Tax Rate
The new online casino law specifies a 61% tax rate on slots and 15.5% on table games. That’s one of the highest tax rates on slots in the country.
Delaware’s 62.5% tax rate on online casino and poker has Rhode Island beat, though.
Pennsylvania’s tax rate on slots, 54%, is unusual in that the Keystone State’s online gambling marketplace is far from a monopoly.
Similarly, New York sportsbooks paying a 51% tax rate is notable. At the moment, Ohio’s tax rate is 10%. Most legal sports betting states fall somewhere in between.
Nonetheless, the Rhode Island Department of Revenue (RIDOR) will need to recalculate the estimated gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the new law. RIDOR had provided calculations before lawmakers changed the online casino bill. The department’s study provided totals based on a 51% tax rate on slots and 18% on table games. RIDOR concluded online casino gambling GGR would be $69.3 million during the site’s first year.
One aspect of the law that remains, despite many changes to the bill, is table games include roulette, blackjack, Big Six, craps, poker, baccarat, and paigow.