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Rhode Island The Latest To Consider Online Gambling

Rhode Island was somewhat ahead of the curve when they authorized casino gambling several years ago. The state had become a leader in the Northeast at a time when casino gambling was exploding around the US, but now other states have caught up.

When Massachusetts legislators finally agreed on the terms of casino expansion, it was immediately assumed by many that Rhode Island would be the state affected most. With that reality only a couple of years away, lawmakers in Rhode Island have started to kick around the idea of bringing online gambling into the mix. Online casinos would fill the void left when gamblers turn to Massachusetts casinos.

"With more and more people conducting online transactions it certainly makes sense for the state to explore how it can meet the needs of those wishing to engage in gaming online," said Patti Doyle, a spokeswoman for Twin River, which operates a casino in Rhode Island.

The topic of Internet gambling has come up in many states over the past week. On Christmas Day, the Department of Justice delivered a gift to gamblers in the US when they released a legal opinion that clarified the 1961 Wire Act. It had long been assumed that all forms of online gambling were illegal under the Wire Act, but the legal opinion disputed that assumption.

When the DoJ asserted that only sports betting is illegal under the law, states started to look into regulations for games such as online poker, blackjack, and slots. Nevada has already passed an online gambling law, and was waiting for the federal laws to change. It is expected that Nevada may have gaming companies licensed and online sites operating by the end of 2012.

Rhode Island has faced increased competition in the Northeast in recent years. Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, and New York have all authorized new casinos in that time. New Jersey, the leader in the gaming industry on the East Coast, has Senator Raymond Lesniak pushing legislation that would equal the online gambling regulations passed in Nevada.

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