Rhode Island Governor Signs Off on Remote Signups

The Rhode Island Lottery can now sign up sports bettors remotely, allowing them to place bets without ever stepping inside the state’s two casinos. The new law was signed July 23 by Governor Gina Raimondo (l.).

On July 23, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed bills from the legislature that fixes a flaw in the state’s sports betting law that had prevented thousands of potential customers from making wagers.

Sports bettors will now be able to sign up to use the mobile sportsbook remotely, instead of having to trek to one of two Twin River casinos to finish the applications in person.

The bills were passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the legislature.

They should be implemented in about a month. This should give plenty of time before the NFL season begins.

IGT, which operates sportsbook for Rhode Island Lottery, had previously issued a statement that it was “prepared to quickly adapt our IGT PlaySports technology to accommodate mobile registration should it be approved.”

Some supporters had claimed that thousands of new registrations will result from the new policy. The Department of Revenue says there are 14,000 applications that are sitting unfinished within the system because the applicants hadn’t gotten to either casino yet to complete them.

Lottery Spokesman Paul Grimaldi commented on the incentive this had given the state to fix the process. “Like any new product, player feedback is important. We’ve worked with our partners to improve the sports betting experience since it launched. The evolution of player registration to a fully remote process mobile is part of that effort as we work to provide the best possible player experience.”

The lottery anticipates that it will attract some out of state customers to cross state lines to sign up and play while they are in the state. They could attract residents of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which don’t have sports betting. Boston is about an hour by car from both Twin River casinos.

The pandemic had added another reason for the new legislation: It will encourage less travel within the state by residents.

Some lawmakers fear that making this change could invite a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the sports betting law. Some critics say a vote of the people is required to make this much of a change to the state’s gambling laws.

With Rhode Island’s action, only three states that offer sports betting mandate in person registration.