Rhode Island Hoping for Sports Betting LegalizationPublished January 11, 2018 by Elana K
Rhode Island state Sen. William Conley, the chair of the state’s Senate Finance Committee, is enthusiastic about allowing sports betting in the state should the Supreme Court rule that it is legal.
Rhode Island is the latest state talking legalized sports betting. In the midst of budget woes, which have been partially caused by steadily decreasing profits from the state’s lottery, the state's lawmakers are turning to sports betting, and even online gambling, as possible ways to add to the state’s income.
Sports betting, however, is not yet legal in the U.S. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is currently involved in an epic battle with the Supreme Court, fighting for states to be allowed to offer this privilege.
What’s The Court Case All About?
What beef does Governor Chris Christie have with the Supreme Court? It all goes back to a 1992 law that prohibits states from offering legal sports betting. That is, all states except four: Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. These states met a deadline in 1991 and were thus exempted from the law.
Christie’s argument is that such a law is unconstitutional. If the court rules in his favor, not only would New Jersey be allowed to offer sports betting, but so would all the other states, including Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Support
Rhode Island state Sen. William Conley, the chair of the state’s Senate Finance Committee, is enthusiastic about allowing sports betting in the state should Christie win his fight.
Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello is also on board with sports betting. He commented, “If the U.S. Supreme Court issues a favorable ruling to legalize sports betting in New Jersey as expected, I would be very interested in such legislation for Rhode Island."
Online Gambling Also a Possibility?
If sports betting is allowed, online gambling is only a hop, skip, and jump away - especially because it's already legal for states to offer it. For now, Rhode Island is not jumping into anything, but over time, lawmakers may come to see online gambling as another good, long-term solution for the state's budget deficit. That's what happened in Pennsylvania.