The following is a press release from the Rhode Island House Minority Office.
State Representative Doreen Costa (R - North Kingstown, Exeter) criticized proposed legislation that would increase the legal age for gambling to 21.
The proposed legislation, H-5032, would impose a fine of between $100 and $500 and suspend a driver’s license for six months for anyone under 21 found gambling or on the premises of a casino, slot parlor or facility where pari-mutual betting is permitted. Current law establishes 18 as the legal age for gambling in the state.
“This legislation represents a giant step backward for young people in Rhode Island,” said Costa. “Young adults can vote at age 18 and serve in the military at 18, but now we want to prohibit them from participating alongside other adults in legal gambling venues.
She added, “This is another horrible example of the encroachment of the Nanny State, in which we continue to over-dictate what adults can legally do, when they can do it, where they can do it and under what conditions they can do it. This is a huge and irresponsible overreach, and I plan to vigorously oppose this legislation in hearings before the Judiciary Committee."
Costa also pointed out that the legislation would also penalize parents or others over 21 who allow an underage person to gamble. Their penalty would be a disorderly conduct offense, a fine of $100 to 500, and suspension of driving privileges for a six-month period.