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Rhode Island lawmakers pass remote registration amendment


A bill to remove the in-person registration requirement for bettors in Rhode Island has passed the state legislature, and is now awaiting ratification by Governor Gina Raimondo.

If approved, Amendment H 8097 will allow online gaming patrons to set up and use their sports betting accounts from outside physical gaming facilities, removing the need to visit a venue in-person to complete player registrations.

It will still require that the physical location of players is checked before bets be placed, however.

The amendment was introduced this month by representatives Nicholas Mattiello and Marvin Abney. It sees the definition of “online gaming account” change from an account established “in-person on the premises of a hosting facility”, to simply an account which a “patron shall use for the deposit and withdrawal of funds used for online sports wagering”.

After around a week of consideration, the amendment was passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly on July 16. It was then placed on the senate calendar and approved by the Senate on the same day, transmitted to Governor Gina Raimondo on July 17, and currently awaits her approval.

Mobile wagering was introduced to the state in September 2019, with online customers required to register accounts at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln before being allowed to play remotely anywhere within Rhode Island.

The need for in-person registration has been seen as a major barrier to customer on-boarding for operators, and like many other jurisdictions, Rhode Island has seen a significant decline in gaming revenues throughout the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

In May, The state suffered a 71.6% year-on-year drop in sports wagering revenue. Revenue for the full month amounted to $163,472, compared to $574,703 in the same month last year, while the state’s handle also fell 89.7% from $14.6m to $1.5m.