Rhode Island facing legal battle over sports gambling
A physician with too much time on his hands looks to bring sports gambling to a grinding halt
Sports gambling is unconstitutional in Rhode Island. This is the opinion of a physician, Dr. Daniel Harrop, who is suing the state and several lawmakers to try to turn back the clock. He argues that the state’s residents should have been allowed to vote on the subject and, absent that vote, sports gambling is illegal.
Rhode Island became the first state in the New England region to offer sports gambling. Harrop points to Article VI, section 22 of the state constitution to support his theory, with that section reading, “Restriction of gambling. — No act expanding the types of gambling which are permitted within the state or within any city or town therein or expanding the municipalities in which a particular form of gambling is authorized shall take effect until it has been approved by the majority of those electors voting in a statewide referendum and by the majority of those electors voting in a referendum in the municipality in which the proposed gambling would be allowed.”
However, he is applying his own interpretation to the wording and lawmakers will more than likely be able to have the lawsuit dismissed by the Providence Superior Court. Sports gambling, they argue, is not an expansion of gambling but is already covered under the state’s Class III gaming regulations.
Harrop might just still be upset that he was rejected for a political post. He ran for mayor of Providence in 2014 and was beaten, potentially leading him to hold a grudge. However, even apart from that, he is no stranger to controversy. He illegally evicted two students from a property he owned in the 1990s and then allegedly lied about it under oath. He was also an executive with a subsidiary of United Health Care in the same period when the company was forced to pay a large fine for violations. Harrop was subsequently relieved of his responsibilities as a result.