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Gambling In Rhode Island: Full Overview 2020

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Online Casino
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Online Sports
(legal since: 03/25/2019)
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The state of Rhode Island has seen some exciting happenings in the world of gambling, with some new legal additions made in 2019. However, there has been plenty going on in the world of wagering in the state prior to 2019, with Rhode Island having a strong history of betting dating back many years. In this Rhode Island casino guide, find out everything you need to know about the history of betting in Rhode Island as well as what is legal, what is on the way, and what is not legal throughout the smallest state by geographic area in the country.

In this guide to casino gambling in Rhode Island, find out the answer to the question of are casinos legal along with other important information that bettors should know before they get set to place their bets in casinos, sportsbooks, and everything else that is offered.

Rhode Island gambling history and social importance

History: A long history

The history of wagering in Rhode Island goes all the way back to the 1930s, before the thought of a Rhode Island casino hotel had ever existed. In 1934, it was deemed that betting on horse racing was legal, which kickstarted betting in the state once and for all. But the horse racing scene in Rhode Island didn’t last, as the two racetracks that were operating closed their doors for good in the 1970s. From those ashes rose the state lottery, which came to be in 1973.

In terms of casino gaming, it could be Connecticut that Rhode Island has to thank for introducing casino gaming into the equation. The popular Foxwoods resort casino opened in the nearby state in 1992, and showed Rhode Island that it could have been missing an opportunity by not having casinos of their own to generate revenue. The initial response was video lottery machines at off-track betting facilities, but 2012 saw casino gaming finally be legalized in full. There were two casino operators, Twin River and Newport Grand, with Twin River eventually buying out the competition and becoming the sole casino operator in the diminutive state.

Social importance: A forward thinking place

In terms of social importance, Rhode Island gambling isn’t as inextricably linked to the fabric of the state’s history as many of the other states are with their wagering. In fact, the late adoption of casinos in Rhode Island lagged well behind the efforts of other states to bring that form of gaming to its people. However, early adoption on sports betting and its position in New England near many popular professional sports teams has made Rhode Island something of a sports betting haven that has generated plenty of excitement that way over recent years in a way casino gaming may not have.

Legal situation of casinos and online casinos in Rhode Island 2020

Land-based casinos: Not many operators

Rhode Island gambling is legal at land-based casinos, which means that bettors have the ability to take on slots, table games, and many other forms of wagering through these land-based facilities. As mentioned previously, there isn’t much competition in the casino games space in Rhode Island, as there is currently only one operator running two facilities throughout the state. While that might not seem like a lot, people should remember that this is the smallest state geographically in the country, and that two casinos don’t necessarily have to be far apart to cover the entirety of the state’s bettors. Here is a list of the casinos currently operating in Rhode Island.

  • Twin River Casino
  • Tiverton Casino Hotel

Legal situation for land-based casinos: Recently legal

Is Rhode Island casino betting legal? Yes, thanks to legislation that was passed in 2012 that permitted the use of slots and table gaming at such facilities. From a legal perspective, bettors simply need to be able to meet the Rhode Island casino age requirements to bet. That means that they have to be 18 years or older to participate, which is a lower age than many states require bettors to be to take part in casino games wagering. But in terms of the legal status of land-based casino games operations, there is no reason to worry about any of it here.

Online casinos: Nothing locally there

For those who want to play at an online casino Rhode Island may not be your best bet, depending on your preferences in games. This is because the current legal situation surrounding online casino action in Rhode Island has made it so that there is no specific Rhode Island online casino gaming available. Instead, bettors would have to go to offshore slots machines and table games sites that are regulated elsewhere in order to take part in their casino slots machines and table gaming, which some bettors might not want to do. With the amount of offshore options out there, though, other bettors might be thrilled with the current climate.

Legal situation for online casinos: Legal grey area

The legal situation surrounding Rhode Island online gambling is that there basically is no legal situation to be had. There is no law that makes it illegal for an online casino Rhode Island players want to use to be utilized. There is also nothing that makes it specifically legal either. Instead, players are free to go to offshore betting sites to take on the casino games they choose, but they don’t have any more localized options. Instead, bettors have to make sure that they vet each casino site themselves to make sure that they are playing somewhere that meets their needs.

Market prediction for the future

As is the case with other states that offer an unregulated look at online casino action, it is hard to look at Rhode Island and feel like they aren’t missing out on a big opportunity. In the future, it will be interesting to see if there will be some sort of attempt to regulate the online casino industry, the same way that they have the land-based options that exist in the state. With the revenue that casino gaming can generate, it is surprising that there are no current plans to make any changes to that system, but the future could bring change eventually.

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Legal situation of sports betting and online betting in Rhode Island 2020

Land-based betting operators/racetracks: Only a couple choices

There are currently two Rhode Island casino sports book options that players can choose from. Of course, there aren’t many choices to be had given that both of them are run by the same operator at two different physical casinos. Instead, bettors are in a spot where they will have to more or less take what they are given by Twin River, which might not be the most appealing option for bettors who like to be free to compare betting lines to find the best odds and the best lines in an attempt to beat the sportsbooks.

Legal situation for land-based betting operators/racetracks: A new legal state

Is there sports betting at Rhode Island casinos? Yes, and it is legal thanks to the passage of a budget that included the legalization of sports betting in June of 2018. The Rhode Island lottery oversees the sports betting action that exists in the two land-based locations in the state, both of which operate differently. One location is a full-service sportsbook, while the other will only have a self-service kiosk for placing sports wagers. Either way, bettors who go to Rhode Island casinos will have the opportunity to place sports bets legally no matter which casino they go to.

Online sports betting: Quickly legal

Looking at online gambling Rhode Island has done a nice job of making sure that bettors in the state have access not just to land-based sports betting but online sports wagering as well. This has been done through the Sportsbook Rhode Island app, which serves as the only mobile and online betting option for those who are looking to place sports bets in Rhode Island. This app works with Twin River, the lone sports betting operator in the state, to book sports bets. Bettors must be of legal age to participate, and must also be within the confines of Rhode Island to place a bet, with location services to verify eligibility at the time.

Legal situation for betting sites: Currently okay

Online sports betting is legal in Rhode Island only through the aforementioned Sportsbook Rhode Island app. Legalization of online sports wagering came in March of 2019 with the passage of Senate Bill 37. That came as sort of an add-on to the original 2018 legislation that saw the legalization of sports betting at physical locations take place. In all, the app gives bettors three venues where they can place sports bets, with the two Twin River casino locations making up the other two choices. Given how small Rhode Island is, that isn’t necessarily a bad number.

Market prediction for the future

In the future, it will be interesting to see if Rhode Island sticks with its decision to only offer sports betting action through its lone land-based casino operator. With so many popular sportsbook options emerging in the United States, bettors may feel like they are missing out if that number is not expanded. For now, Rhode Island does not have any plans to issue licenses to those online operators. But if it would help generate more revenue, it is entirely possible that there would be additional sportsbooks that are admitted in the future.

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Legal situation of poker rooms and online poker in Rhode Island 2020

Land-based poker rooms: One poker room

Can I play poker at a Rhode Island casino? The answer to that question is yes, although it may be a more literal answer than some bettors are looking for. It is possible to play poker at exactly one Rhode Island casino, with that casino being the Twin River in Lincoln, RI. Given that there are only two physical casinos in the entire state, it isn’t entirely surprising that there aren’t many poker room options to choose from. Although the fact that there is only one land-based choice is a little disappointing no matter how small Rhode Island is.

Legal situation for land-based poker rooms: One legal choice

On the bright side, playing poker at Rhode Island’s lone poker room is in fact legal. Thanks to the 2010s bringing casino and table gaming to bettors, land-based poker play at Twin River is entirely fine from a legal perspective. Regardless of the number of options out there, bettors are free to take part in everything without fear of running afoul of the law, which is the most important thing for those who enjoy playing cards.

Online poker: An interesting spot

From the perspective of online gambling Rhode Island is not exactly ahead of the pack, and that is true of their online poker situation as well. There are no online poker options that exist in the state of Rhode Island. Instead, players are free to take on the action that exists at the offshore poker sites that are regulated elsewhere. This is okay for players who don’t mind sending their money to an offshore operator, as there are plenty of offshore options to choose from. As long as those sites take players from Rhode Island, there usually isn’t any problem with finding a place to play on the internet.

Legal situation for online poker: Okay offshore

Legally, online poker is in the gray area that so many of the online gambling options in Rhode Island are. There isn’t any legislation that makes poker legal or illegal, which means that bettors are free to play at offshore poker sites without having to worry about breaking any laws. But with no laws on the books about online poker, it also means that there aren’t any local poker options outside of the one land-based casino that provides poker games. As of now, there don’t appear to be any plans to regulate the online poker market, which means players should expect to continue to play freely wherever they please.

Market prediction for the future

Just like with the online casino industry, the state of Rhode Island has to feel like they are missing out on an opportunity by not regulating the online poker market. With poker being popular and potentially bringing in revenue for the state, the future could see Rhode Island try to regulate things for its own gain down the road. But with no plans to do that for now and the fact that there don’t appear to be any additions to the land-based poker menu in the state, it is possible that the future is going to hold a lot more of the same for those who want to play poker.

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Legal situation of lotteries and online lottery in Rhode Island 2020

Lottery gaming is done in a strictly offline fashion in Rhode Island as of right now. The Rhode Island Lottery is the provider of lottery action for players in this state, with the ability to only purchase tickets offline at this time. Looking toward the future, it doesn’t look like there are any plans to add online lottery action here, as the offline services appear to be all that are wanted at this time. Lottery action was first brought to Rhode Island in the 1970s, after the closure of the two racetracks that were operating in the state that gave Rhode Islanders their first look at legal gambling. Rhode Island is a part of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which means that multi-state games like Powerball and Mega Millions are free to be enjoyed by those who live here.

Legal situation of daily fantasy sports in Rhode Island 2020

Daily fantasy sports are something that have seen differing opinions throughout Rhode Island, as bettors have been in a position where they have wanted to enjoy the action while the state has tried to figure out what to do about it. The attorney general of Rhode Island has deemed DFS to be legal, while the state lottery has stated that it is a form of gambling that cannot be regulated. That is all legalese that can be translated into the fact that players who want to enjoy daily fantasy sports in Rhode Island can do so without it being considered illegal. Operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo are all working in Rhode Island, with the lack of explicit illegality in Rhode Island being good enough for them to continue to provide contests to players until any changes are made to their status.

Rhode Island Gambling

Legal situation of social casino in Rhode Island 2020

Social casino gaming is gaining in popularity, thanks to the fact that it doesn’t require any real risk to get the same excitement as other forms of casino gaming. Social casino gaming isn’t legal in Rhode Island, but it isn’t illegal either. That is similar to the state’s stance on other forms of online wagering, despite the fact that there is no actual wagering taking place in social casino play. Outside of the purchasing of play money that is completely optional, bettors do not have to put down any of their own money to enjoy social casino action. That lack of stakes and the requirement to spend funds is what would keep social casino gaming legal regardless of who is in favor of it, as people take to their social media accounts to compete with friends and otherwise enjoy casino play without any of the risks.

Conclusion: Quality options over quantity

Rhode Island is in an interesting position as it pertains to gambling. On one hand, bettors are free to enjoy many of the wagering options that are available in other states. But the fact that Rhode Island is so small makes it difficult for players to fully enjoy everything that is on offer, because there just aren’t as many places to do so as there are elsewhere. But bettors in Rhode island should find that what their state lacks in choices, it makes up for in quantity. With a streamlined approach to gambling in person and on sports online, and the freedom to go offshore for other types of online wagering, there is no shortage of quality to be found throughout this tiny state. It will be intriguing to see how the betting industry continues to evolve here, especially as it pertains to online wagering in all of its many forms.

Gambling typeLegal status
Land-based casinosCasino, poker, sports betting
Online gamblingUnregulated
Sports bettingMobile and offline
LotteryOffline only
Daily fantasy sportsUnregulated
Minimum gambling age18