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Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Rhode Island?

The first sports betting bill in Rhode Island appeared in January 2018, which was a few months ahead of the decision by the Supreme Court to lift the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Lawmakers in the state held a hearing the day after the Supreme Court’s decision and immediately started to put a plan in place to legalize sports betting.

Governor Gina Raimondo officially signed the bill into law on June 22, 2018, setting the plan in motion. Gambling in Rhode Island could now officially include sports betting.

The Twin River Management Group operates the only two casinos in the state, and it was granted permission to offer Rhode Island casino sports betting, which it accepted. The Rhode Island State Lottery regulates the sports betting industry in the state and has only issued licenses to operate sportsbooks to the two casinos.

The sports betting bill did not include any language for other applications to be taken or other licenses to be issued.

March 2019 was a monumental month for sports betting in RI, as state lawmakers voted on SB 37 to expand sports betting to include mobile betting. It took a few months for Twin River to get things in place, but it has since launched an online betting platform.

In addition to Rhode Island’s online sports betting options, there are also mobile betting apps that can be downloaded on both iOS and Android devices.

The initial sports betting law did not put any restrictions on the types of bets that can be offered by the sportsbooks and did not limit the types of sports that can be bet on. Betting on collegiate events is allowed in Rhode Island, except for games that take place in the state, or feature teams from the state.

Can I Gamble Online in Rhode Island?

The state of Rhode Island does not allow any form of online casino gambling. The two land-based casinos in the state are the only places to accept gambling throughout the state of Rhode Island.

Gambling has taken place in Rhode Island since 1934, when pari-mutuel betting was allowed on thoroughbred races. Narragansett Park was the first place to take bets in Rhode Island, but the racetrack closed in 1978.

Since that time, Lincoln Downs has continued to offer pari-mutuel betting, but that was the only type of gambling allowed. The Lincoln Downs would eventually transform into Twin River casino which increased the gambling landscape in Rhode Island. 

It was only in 2012 that the modern era of gambling in the Ocean State began to shape as table games were legalized and a massive expansion of slot machines was added. Since then, the progress of casino betting in Rhode Island has slowed.   

There have been attempts to expand casino betting to include online gambling recently, but those discussions didn’t get anywhere. With online sports betting finally going live in Rhode Island, there is hope that online casinos will be able to launch as well.

Is Online Poker Legal in Rhode Island?

Much like with online casinos, online poker is not yet legal in Rhode Island. Table games were only introduced at the two land-based casinos in 2012 and the progress to enable further options for poker in the Ocean State has been slow.

There are offshore options that residents of Rhode Island can take advantage of, but we recommend avoiding these sites. Operations like this are not regulated by the Rhode Island government, and there is little in terms of protection from loss of funds or personal information. It is better to wait until the state laws change and authorized online poker sites launch.

Rhode Island’s gambling laws have already seen a great deal of change with the legalization of casino table games and online sportsbooks. While recent bills have been proposed to start the conversation of legal online poker, an amendment would have to be made to the Rhode Island Constitution before changes can be made.

The Legality of Daily Fantasy Sports in Rhode Island

Rhode Island was one of the first states to come out and declare that daily fantasy sports were legal under their current laws. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin stated in 2016 that residents of the state were able to play in DFS contests without fear of prosecution.

This statement paved the way for sites like DraftKings and FanDuel to not only operate in the state of Rhode Island but also to advertise and promote their sites as well.

Attorney General Kilmartin urged lawmakers to regulate DFS sites within the state, but that has not happened to date. DFS operators can offer all their contests and games aside from sportsbooks to residents in Rhode Island without any interference from the state.

Purchase Lottery Tickets Online in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Lottery was officially created in 1973, and it launched in 1974. “The Lot” is the official name of the Rhode Island Lottery, and it has gone through several huge changes throughout the years.

After “The Lot” was officially launched, Rhode Island became the ninth state in the United States to operate a state lottery.

The Rhode Island Lottery also regulates the sports betting and casino industry in the state, and it has launched an online site to make things easier for its customers. The Rhode Island Lottery has been able to generate over seven billion dollars in revenue for the State’s General Fund since launching in 1974.

Customers can buy lottery tickets and play lottery games online at the Rhode Island Lottery site, and they can also check to see if they own a winning ticket.

One unique feature on the site is the “VIP Club” which provides residents of Rhode Island with certain perks for being returning customers of the Rhode Island Lottery.

Other Interesting Facts About Gambling in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s sports betting industry works a little bit differently from other states in the fact that it is extremely limited and well regulated. Other states that have legalized sports betting have created an application for new licenses, but that isn’t the case in the Ocean State.

The Rhode Island Lottery oversees the sports betting industry, and they allow the two physical casinos in the state to offer sports betting.

Another thing that sets the Rhode Island’s gambling industry apart from other states is the fact that the legal age to gamble is just 18 years of age. Most states have set the age at 21.

Rather than flat taxing the revenue of sports betting operations in the state, Rhode Island shares a percentage of total profits made from these operations. Funds made from all gambling revenue go towards State programs such as educational grants and infrastructural improvement projects. 

Rhode Island Is a Gambling-Friendly State

Even though there are still some limitations to the gambling scene in Rhode Island, it is well ahead of a vast majority of states across the country. The addition of legalized online gambling will create plenty of revenue for the state, as well as make betting on sports much easier for residents.

You’ll be able to find updates on this page should there be any changes to the laws involving gambling in Rhode Island. 

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