House-passed budget outlines revenue-sharing from sports betting

THE HOUSE APPROVED A $9.6 BILLION fiscal 2019 budget on Friday. / PBN FILE PHOTO/NICOLE DOTZENROD
THE HOUSE APPROVED A $9.6 BILLION fiscal 2019 budget on Friday. / PBN FILE PHOTO/NICOLE DOTZENROD

PROVIDENCE — The House late Friday approved a $9.6 billion budget that continues a car-tax phaseout and outlines how revenue from newly authorized sports betting will be shared.

The fiscal 2019 spending plan, which now moves to the Senate, also includes a bond question that will ask voters in November to authorize $250 million toward school construction and renovation. And it adds $6 million for the second year of the Rhode Island Promise free-tuition program at the Community College of Rhode Island.

The bill includes an agreement reached with IGT, which won the contract for operating sports wagering in the state. Under the agreement, the state will retain 51 percent of sports-betting revenue. IGT will receive 32 percent and Twin River, which would host sports betting at its Lincoln and Tiverton gambling facilities, would get 17 percent.

Lincoln and Tiverton would each get annual payments of $100,000. Sports gambling is expected to begin Oct. 1 at the state’s casinos.

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Lawmakers expect sports waging to bring in $23.5 million in 2019.

The budget plan also fully funds the second year of a planned phase-out of the car tax championed by House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello.

The bill also reflects a settlement over reimbursement rates to nursing homes. Nursing homes will receive 2.5 percent above the current rates by Oct. 1. The House removed an 8.5 percent rate reduction that was contained in the budget passed by the House Finance Committee. The change means nursing homes will get approximately $9 million in additional funding, half from the state’s General Fund, the rest from a federal match.

The House approved $11 million for the Real Jobs Rhode Island training program and extended several business incentive programs that were expiring, including the Rebuild Rhode Island construction tax credit and the Wavemaker Fellowship program.