R.I. AG proposes gaming regulation

Jessica M. Karmasek Jun. 16, 2011, 9:49am


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said Tuesday his office has submitted legislation that addresses the oversight and regulation of any future casino gaming operations in the state.

The legislation, H6250, authorizes the State Lottery to conduct and control casino gaming, provides a regulatory oversight mechanism for casino gaming, and regulates any future casino gaming licenses. It also creates a Division of Gaming Enforcement within the Attorney General's Office.

According to Kilmartin's office, the measure takes effect upon approval of an expansion of gaming by a majority of the electors in accordance with Article VI, Section 22 of the Rhode Island Constitution.

"It is imperative that if Rhode Island is going to expand to full scale casino gaming that appropriate regulation and oversight be established," Kilmartin said in a statement.

"For Rhode Islanders to have confidence that casino gaming will be conducted with integrity and in a lawful way, the State must act to provide necessary protections and stringent oversight before the expansion takes place."

Under the legislation, the Lottery is given the authority to regulate all aspects of casino gaming, including conduct investigations of and adopt eligibility requirements for applicants for license or registration; grant licenses to applicants; adopt appropriate standards for casino gaming facilities and equipment; adopt appropriate eligibility requirements and standards for employees, contractors, vendors or agencies of casino gaming facilities; investigate alleged violations and take necessary disciplinary action against the licensee or permitee; revoke, suspend or restrict licenses or permits; and impose fines and penalties.

The measure also transfers regulatory oversight of all racing from the Department of Business Regulation to the Lottery Division.

"Providing the Lottery control of casino gaming is a natural evolution of authority and regulation and promotes government efficiency. It mandates that the experts in gaming and racing oversight be housed in one location, providing for consistent regulation," Kilmartin explained.

"This would also have a positive fiscal impact on taxpayers seeing this Act grants the authority to the Lottery, not create a separate gaming commission with duplicative roles and costs."

Working in coordination with the Lottery, the Division of Gaming Enforcement will be led by an assistant attorney general and staff, and will have Rhode Island State Police assigned to assist, Kilmartin's office said.

The division's primary function will be to investigate gaming crimes and promote public safety at all Rhode Island gaming venues, collect evidence, maintain records, disseminate information and intelligence gathering related to the gaming statue and prohibited acts. It also will be responsible for licensing and background investigations of casino license applicants and appropriate managers, employees, contractors and vendors as determined by the Division of Lottery, the Attorney General's Office said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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