Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo faced criticism both from fellow Democrats and Republicans across the aisle after submitting a budget plan that relied on several assumptions, including revenue from legalized sports betting.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s budget proposals include uncertain income from legalized sports betting. (Image: Stuart Isett)

Raimondo shared her $9.4 billion budget for the 2019 fiscal year earlier this week. While sports betting makes up a small portion of the revenue total for the state, the budget does include $23.5 million in revenue from the practice, based on a proposal that would allow such gambling to take place at Twin River Casino.

Budgeted Funds Rely on PASPA Repeal

That raised questions from legislators due to the fact that states are not currently able to regulate sports betting under federal law.

That may well change later this year, as the Supreme Court is considering a case brought by the state of New Jersey that could overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which would open the doors for states to individually determine how sports betting would be handled.

Based on the questions asked during oral arguments in December, many observers believe that the Supreme Court justices are leaning towards an overturn of PASPA. However, that’s still far from a sure thing, and that has made lawmakers wary of including any funds from sports betting in the state budget.

“I’m not comfortable that money is booked in the budget requiring law changes without an alternative,” said House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston). “I think they should have included an alternative, if in fact those law changes do not occur.”

Sports betting isn’t the only revenue source that has garnered scrutiny in Raimondo’s budget. The governor also proposed an expansion of Rhode Island’s medical marijuana

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