The bill would introduce a self-exclusion programme, and Rhode Island casinos would have to contribute to finance problem gambling initiatives.
US.- Rhode Island senators have unanimously approved a bill that would require the state’s casinos to finance problem gambling programs through Rhode Island’s State Lottery Division. Senate Bill 2496 proposes that Bally’s Tiverton and Bally’s Twin River Lincoln pay the State Lottery Division no less than $200,000 annually for the programmes.
It would also establish a self-exclusion programme for players. The bill still needs to make it through the House of Representatives and there’s no date for a vote there yet.
The opening statement in the bill, which was sponsored by State Senator Frank Ciccone III among others, reads: “The division and the state acknowledge that the vast majority of gaming patrons can enjoy gambling games responsibly, but that there are certain societal costs associated with gaming by some individuals who have problems handling the product or services provided.”
Ciccone said the bill would establish a player self-exclusion program within the State Lottery Division. An amendment establishes that players enrolled in the self-exclusion program will be prohibited from collecting winnings or recovering losses from gambling activities.
As proposed, the self-exclusion program would divert forfeited winnings to the Rhode Island Council on Problem Gambling. Reimbursed funds from the two casinos could go toward a programme for employees to raise awareness of problem gambling. Proceeds also could benefit the promotion of a problem gambling hotline.
Smoking ban at Rhode Island’s casinos
Bally’s Corporation announced smoking will no longer be allowed indoors at its gaming facilities in Lincoln and Tiverton, Rhode Island. The decision came after a legislator pushed for a smoking ban at state casinos, backed by the representation of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA).
Bally’s has placed no smoking signs at its tables. Gamblers playing blackjack and other games must now move to a designated smoking area. The casinos have made no mention of the change on their websites or social media channels.
“Customers who wish to smoke must leave the table and use a smoking receptacle on the outer perimeter of the table games area,” Patti Doyle, a Bally’s spokesperson, told The Providence Journal. “We have posted signage and ashtrays have been removed at the tables.”