Rhode Island may be the smallest of US states, but it was one of the first to actively push to legalize sports betting after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Although sports betting has not yet been launched here, The Ocean State has a number of gambling activities for bettors to enjoy, including a state lottery and land-based gambling.
Is it legal to bet on sports in Rhode Island?
Yes. Shortly after the PASPA repeal in May 2018, Governor Gina Raimondo signed sports betting into law on 22 June. Rhode Island was one of the first states to hold sports betting hearings to discuss whether the activity was suitable for the state. However, it is worth mentioning that, while it is legal to bet on sports in Rhode Island, there isn’t yet anywhere for bettors to make their wagers on sports.
The state’s casinos and regulators in the state initially hoped to launch sports betting services before October 2018 but pushed the launch date back in August, providing a revised expected launch date of November. After numerous delays, Rhode Island sports betting went live on 26 November 2018 at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln. Shortly after, on December 3, Twin River’s Tiverton property also launched sports betting operations.
Rhode Island selected International Game Technology (IGT) to help launch its sports betting services as a result of its long-standing relationship with the state’s casinos and government. Similar to Delaware’s sports betting model, IGT receives higher revenues from sports betting than the actual casinos. While Rhode Island casinos only hold onto 17% of revenue, IGT will receive 32% and Rhode Island will receive 51% of sports betting revenue in the form of taxation and licensing costs.
On 16 January 2019, Rhode Island’s Senate President, Dominick Ruggerio introduced a piece of legislation to expand the sports betting offerings in the state. The bill, if successful will legalize mobile sports betting in Rhode Island, including a sports betting app for the Twin River properties.
Which sports can I bet on?
Rhode Island residents can wager on a variety of professional sporting events, as well as college events that aren’t held in the state, or don’t involve Rhode island teams.
The legislation reads: “the provisions of this section, sports wagering shall be prohibited in connection with any collegiate sports or athletic event that takes place in Rhode Island or a sports contest or athletic event in which any Rhode Island college team participates, regardless of where the event takes place.”
Will I be able to place bets online?
It is currently only legal to place online bets on horse racing in Rhode Island; all other forms of Rhode Island sports betting must take place at land-based sportsbooks. This means that bettors can only make their wagers in-person at one of the Twin Rivers establishments.
However, state legislators have shown an interest in exploring the possibility of legalizing mobile and online sports betting in the future. On 16 January 2019, Rhode Island’s Senate President, Dominick Ruggerio introduced a piece of legislation that would authorize mobile sports betting in Rhode Island. The bill would authorize the creation of an app used to access the sports betting offerings available at the Twin River properties in the state.
If successful, the Rhode Island mobile sports betting model will share some similarities with the Nevada mobile sports betting model. The key similarity between them is that residents will be able to place wagers on sports from anywhere within state lines, but must first register their account in person at one of the state’s land-based sportsbooks.
The bill’s wording also suggests that it could open the door for more sports betting vendors to enter the Rhode Island sports betting market. The bill refers to sports betting “contracts.”
The use of “contracts” implies that there is a possibility that the state lottery could enter into more than one contract for mobile sports betting, suggesting that other sports betting operators could strike deal with the lottery.
Where can I bet on sports in Rhode Island?
Two Rhode Island establishments offer legal and regulated sports betting. The Twin River Casino, located in Lincoln, features a full sportsbook where patrons can place bets and watch games, while the Twin River Tiverton Casino and Hotel, only has a sports betting kiosk.
Twin River Casino Hotel
100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI 02865, USA
Monday 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM (Midnight once NFL MNF games end)
Twin River Tiverton Casino and Hotel
777 Tiverton Casino Blvd
Tiverton, RI 02878-2497
+ 1 401-816-6000
Monday 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM (Midnight once the NFL MNF games end)
Saturday 9:00 AM – 2:00 AM
What else can I bet on in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island has a wide variety of gambling activities available to residents and visitors. The state might have just two casinos within its borders, but they offer a variety of different casino games, including:
- Poker (pai gow, Caribbean stud, crazy 4 poker, 3 card poker)
- Mississippi stud
- Texas Hold’em bonus
- Spanish 21
- Big six wheel
- Off track betting
The state also allows players to place online bets on horse racing, games of skill such as puzzle and trivia games. Daily fantasy sports games also act as a substitute for online sports betting in the state of Rhode Island. On top of this, residents can also participate in the Rhode Island state lottery either by purchasing a physical ticket or playing one of the state’s online games.
Although some forms of online gambling are permitted, it’s not legal to play online casino games or poker in Rhode Island. There is always the possibility this will change in the future if the state looks to other examples of successful online gambling, such as New Jersey.
In the absence of real money online gambling, Rhode Island does allow residents to play social casino games. The state’s main casino in Lincoln offers a social casino site geared towards familiarizing players with the casino’s offerings, namely slots and table games. Other social sites that are operational in Rhode Island are, Zynga, Double Down and Big Fish, as well as MyVegas from MGM Resorts.
Are offshore gambling sites legal in Rhode Island?
Although some forms of online gambling are permitted in Rhode Island, the state legislation does not include any provisions for offshore gambling sites and therefore should be considered illegal. We recommend steering clear of offshore gambling sites- they aren’t subject to the same regulatory standards. This means sites might not be sure and may not have player protection measures in place to safeguard vulnerable players or players’ finances.
You can spot offshore gambling sites by looking at the website’s domain name. Domains ending in .EU or .AG do not hold a license to operate in Rhode Island and therefore should be avoided at all costs.
Is it safe to bet on sports in Rhode Island?
Yes, if you’re betting with a licensed Rhode Island sportsbook. These US sportsbooks must adhere to any regulatory policies the state puts in place to make sure betting is safe and fair for all participants. To make sure gambling remains fun, it’s important to gamble responsibly and avoid betting more than you can afford to lose. If you have any concerns that you, or a loved one, may be suffering from problem gambling, you can contact National Council on Problem Gambling Rhode Island and The Problem Gambling Services of Rhode Island who each have a number of support resources available.
You can contact the National Council on Problem Gambling Rhode Island via:
Helpline: : 877-942-6253
You can contact the Problem Gambling Services of Rhode Island via:
How is sports betting regulated in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island sports betting is overseen by the Rhode Island Lottery. In terms of licensure, the sports betting bill that was signed into law in June 2018 does not contain any procedures or guidelines for applying for a license. This could always change in the future, but at the moment the state lottery regulates the sports betting market through the two Twin Rivers casinos.
How old do I have to be to gamble in Rhode Island?
You must be 18 to participate in gambling in Rhode Island.
The journey to legal and regulated sports betting in Rhode Island?
1934 – Rhode Island took its first steps to legalizing gambling in the state after voters approved pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. Two racetracks eventually opened in the state, Narragansett Park and Lincoln Downs.
1970 – During the 1970s the state’s two race tracks closed down.
1973 – Rhode Island introduced its state lottery. The state would go on to allow bingo and some lottery games. Some forms of off-track betting were also introduced at establishments in Rhode Island.
1992 – Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibiting sports betting across US states. Four states were made exempt from the law: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. These states had legal sports betting regulations in place.
A Foxwoods Resort Casino opened up in the neighboring state of Connecticut. This eventually began to draw customers from Rhode Island and caused the state to lose out on massive amounts of revenue. In response to this, Rhode Island allowed video lottery terminals to be installed at the Lincoln Greyhound racetrack, which was eventually rebranded and became the Twin Rivers Casino.
2012 – A voting referendum saw citizens vote to approve full-scale gambling on table games at two casinos in the state, the Twin River Casino and Newport Grand Casino.
2015 – Twin Rivers bought its rival Newport Grand Casino, making them the only casino operator in the state.
2016 – Another voter referendum took place, deciding that the Newport Grand Casino, purchased by Twin Rivers, would carry out its operations in the Tiverton area to compete with the Foxwoods establishment across the border.
2018 – In January a sports betting bill, S2045, was introduced. Sponsored by a number of senators, the bill stated that sports betting would be permitted on professional sports and college sports excluding events in which Rhode Island teams are competing.
On 14 May, the Court reached a decision. In a 7 – 2 vote it was agreed that one of the clauses in PASPA violated the Tenth Amendment as it commandeered power from states to regulate their own gambling industries. This paved the way for all US states to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting.
On 15 May, Rhode Island lawmakers hosted the first sports betting hearing to take place after the repeal of PASPA. During the hearing it was evident that the state was serious about implementing sports betting. The state lottery showed an interest and requested that a technology partner would help launch betting operations, eventually gaining support from IGT- the Rhode Island lottery provider.
On June 22, Governor Gina Raimondo signed the sports betting bill from January into law making it legal for both Twin River establishments to offer sports betting. The casinos have yet to launch their sportsbooks.
On November 26, after several delays, sports betting went live at the Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln. Shortly after, on December 3, sports betting went live at the Twin River Casino in Tiverton.
2019 – On January 16, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio introduced a bill to permit mobile sports betting in Rhode Island.
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