U.S. Supreme Court Issues Decision Legalizing Sports Betting, Big Impact on RI

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


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Christie filed the suit. Raimondo has pushed for the expansion in RI

Monday morning the United State Supreme Court issues a decision that legalizes sports betting for states across the country.

The decision knocks out Nevada’s near monopoly and allows Governor Gina Raimondo’s plan to push forward.

The decision has two major implications for Rhode Island.

First, it is expected to generate in excess of $23 million for the 2019 Fiscal Year budget.

Second, it is a major expansion of gambling in Rhode Island.

According to the Raimondo administration, the sports betting proposal for Rhode Island would follow the Las Vegas model, in that gamblers would have to make betting in-person -- and not follow New Jersey’s controversial online gaming model at this time.  Officials did confirm that the case before the Supreme Court on all sports betting would determine the viability.

"Four states have legalized sports betting currently in the country, with Nevada being the broadest.  Four have passed legislation pending the Supreme Court decision, and 3 additional states have additional legislation pending. We believe Massachusetts will also introduce legislation," said a Raimondo told GoLocal in January.  "We view it as a competitive necessity...we're doing our due diligence -- -- there could be an online component."

The Supreme Court case was brought by then-Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. The NCAA fought against the expansion of sports gaming.

The gambling is expected to be limited to Twin River. The casino claims that the expansion of table games legalized sports betting

Sports betting may have an impact an adverse impact on Twin River’s other games and Lottery Commission Revenues.

The American Gaming Association estimated that Americans would wager $10 billion on this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament alone, with just three percent of the bets placed legally through Nevada.


Related Slideshow: 5 Danger Areas for Raimondo’s Budget - January, 2018

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Danger #1 -- Budgeting Based on a Supreme Court Decision

Supreme Courts often make decisions that are unexpected. Few expected the Supreme Court to make gay marriage legal in all states a few years ago. Many predicted Supreme Court cases' outcomes have not come to fruition.

Equally important is most states are looking forward to this decision with anticipation — thus, out-of-state players are not likely.

Raimondo is betting big on Trump's Supreme Court.

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Danger #2 -- Medicaid Changes

Raimondo’s plan would charge Medicaid enrollees new co-payments between $2 and $8 on services that tend to be overused, said Patrick Tigue, Medicaid Program Director for the Office of Health and Human Services. Non-disabled adult enrollees would pay a co-pay of $8 on non-emergency emergency room visits, $3 for non-preventative physician visits, $4 for name brand prescription drugs, $2.50 for generics, and $3 for inpatient hospitalizations.

While the disabled and elderly make up for only 20 percent of Medicaid enrollees, they account for 59 percent of the state’s expenditures, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Still, Eric Beane director of the Office of Health and Human Services said the new fees would add up to $3.2 million in new revenue.

The changes would bring Rhode Island in line with 24 other states, including Massachusetts, that instate these types of co-payments, Beane added.

“Ideally everyone would regularly visit with a primary care physician,” he said. “In the long run, we’ll have a lot more money and be able to take care of more priorities for Rhode Islanders if we aren’t unnecessarily spending on emergency departments as opposed to investing earlier when it leads to better outcomes and less costs.”

He also proposed to reduce costs with new software that would more quickly and accurately determine eligibility in the Medicaid program.

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Danger #3 -- New Spending — There is a Lot

Raimondo’s new budget has a lot of new spending initiatives. There is everything from a new $200K for a new pilot program which allows eligible low-income parents to receive child care assistance which they are enrolled in a state college to the $250 million for schools. The collective number of new spending initiatives couple with just recently enacted programs (RI Promise — free tuition for CCRI), a deficit, and uncertainty in Washington may just be too much for legislators.

Certainly, the House Finance may rebuff this eclectic and costly budgeting proposed by the Raimondo administration and decide to go simple in an election year.

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Danger #4 -- Jobs

Despite all of the investments in corporate subsidies by the Raimondo administration, job growth trends are murky at best.

RI has recruited Johnson & Johnson, GE, Virgin Pulse and Infosys as well as a number of other out-of-state companies. But, in the past few months, Department of Labor and Training monthly job reports have shown little growth. December numbers released on Thursday saw Rhode Island losing jobs.

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Danger #5 -- Relationships

It is no secret that the relationship between Governor Gina Raimondo and Speaker Nick Mattiello is a difficult one. The State of the State clearly pointed that Raimondo is going to run on her record, but the key to that strategy is job and wage growth.

She needs better job numbers now. If she doesn't get them, her re-election strategy is likely to pivot to running against the General Assembly. We know how Speakers love that.


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