The great news for Rhode Island bettors is that Rhode Island sports betting has been legal since back in November 2018. You can either bet at one of the state’s two land-based casinos or on the online sports betting app – Sportsbook Rhode Island. However, you need to register in person and will need to visit a physical venue first to open an account. You can then play where you want, when you want.
However, this may be an issue if you have no land-based venue close by. The only other online option is an illegal offshore sports betting site. However, if you want to enjoy sports betting legally, you will need to venture out for that one trip.
Who Can Legally Bet on Sports in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island sports betting is widely available in the state. Anyone of the legal age within the state borders can bet on professional, college and international sports events. Twice voters approved casino gambling in Rhode Island, firstly in 2012 and then again in 2016. These two votes allowed the construction of two state casinos. It wasn’t until 2018 when Rhode Island legislators officially authorized sports betting via the state budget process.
The only legal requirements are that you are of the legal age to gamble and that you are located within state borders – and that you haven’t been excluded. You do not need to be a resident of the state, you simply need to be located within the state when making a bet.
Rhode Island sports betting allows for bets on professional sports, collegiate events and international sports. In-play bets are also legal – although these aren’t yet as widely available as they might be.
However, Rhode Island sports betting is not allowed in college sports or athletic events that actually happen in Rhode Island, or an event or game in which a Rhode Island college team participates – no matter where it happens.
Right now, there is only one available legal sports betting site in Rhode Island. Although there are illegal offshore options, these are best avoided as they may be untrustworthy.
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Rhode Island
This is one of the smaller states, with just over a million people as residents – and, as such, it doesn’t have any of its own major pro sports teams.
However, given its close proximity to Boston, many Rhode Islanders offer their support to the Boston teams. When NFL betting, they tend to support the New England Patriots, NBA betting fans follow the Boston Celtics, MLB fans follow the Boston Red Sox and NHL lovers tend to give their support to the Boston Bruins.
In terms of the NCAA, it isn’t legal in Rhode Island sports betting to wager on the state teams – although fans will follow the state’s NCAA men’s basketball team – the Rhode Island Rams.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in RI?
Rhode Island bettors can enjoy online and mobile betting – but there isn’t much in the may of Rhode Island sportsbooks available, with just the one legalized.
Mobile sports betting legislation was introduced in January 2019 under bill S 0037 by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio. The bill was approved by the Senate the next month, and it was then approved by the House before being signed into law in March by Governor Raimondo.
The Rhode Island mobile online sports betting law has a couple of major limitations. Firstly, the state’s two Twin River casinos have a monopoly over betting and have made agreements with William Hill and IGT. This means that there won’t be any major players such as FanDuel or DraftKings available in the state soon.
Another limitation is the requirement for in-person registration. Bettors in Rhode Island are required to register in person, even to bet online. They will need to personally visit one of the state’s two casinos to register an account. However, there are attempts to amend this.
Rhode Island Daily Fantasy Sports
Rhode Island hasn’t officially passed any legislation that legalizes daily fantasy sports apps. However, lawmakers have noted an interest in this but there have been no proposed bills due to a difficult situation.
RI Attorney General, Peter Kilmartin took a look at DFS in 2016 to see whether or not it was legal under the state’s current gambling legislation. He decided that yes, it was, but he also recommended that lawmakers should officially legalize it in order to regulate and tax it.
When lawmakers started to act upon this, the Rhode Island Lottery declared a different stance on this. They stated that DFS contests meet the definition of ‘gambling’ regardless of whether it is considered a game of skill or luck.
The Rhode Island Lottery went even further by then declaring DFS contests illegal gambling. Thus, any attempt made by legislators to regulate it would be in violation of the state constitution. This was in direct contradiction with the previous opinion but was enough to male legislators halt their attempt to pass proper DFS legislation.
Ever since there has been no new legislation to address DFS. However, Daily Fantasy Sports sites do operate in Rhode Island because of the first analysis by the Attorney General. This issue looks set to stay until either there is a new Attorney General with a differing opinion or the Rhode Island Lottery changes its stance. In the meantime, DFS fans can keep on playing!
Horse Racing Betting in Rhode Island
Horse Racing is legal in Rhode Island, but there’s not much action going on as the state has no active racetracks. However, the two tribe casinos do have fully functional racebooks with simulcasting and betting available nearly every day,
In terms of live racing, residents of Rhode Island will need to travel to another state to watch a race live and bet in person. There were two horse racing tracks – Lincoln Downs that opened in 1947 and Narragansett Park which opened in 1935 and was once the most profitable racetrack in the whole of the US. However, they both ran their last races in the 1970s.
Now, you can only enjoy in-person betting in the racebooks at the Rhode Island casinos:
- Tiverton Casino Racebook
- Twin River Lincoln Racebook
Online Horse Racing Betting
The online betting site in Rhode Island also offers mobile horse racing betting to their customers in RI.
Although state legislation doesn’t strictly authorize advance deposit wagering. However, authorities haven’t made any indications that they intend to ask any horse racing betting site that accepts residents from Rhode Island to stop.
Rhode Island Retail Sportsbooks and Casinos
Rhode Island sportsbooks took their very first bets on 26t November 2018 at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln. Shortly afterwards, on 3rd December 2018, retail sports betting also became available at the Twin River Tiverton Casino. To date, these are the only physical sports betting sites in New England. These are both located about 1 hour’s drive away from Boston.
Their online sports betting facility is provided by William Hill and is supported by the IGT sports betting platform.
Twin River Casino: Lincoln
Twin River Casino offers customers a Bar and Grill with 3.600 square feet of sports betting space available. It has over 1oo TVs, a full bar dining menu and a comfortable seating area.
It is open between Monday to Friday 11 am until midnight and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am until midnight.
Casino Address: 100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI 02865
Twin River Tiverton Casino
This is a little smaller than the other Rhode Island casino – and is located just one mile from the border with Massachusetts. The sportsbook can be found at the simulcast theater. It also offers 32 gaming tables and over 1,000 slot machines.
The sportsbook is open between 11 am to midnight on Mondays to Fridays and between 9 am and midnight on Saturday and Sunday.
Address: 777 Tiverton Casino Blvd, Tiverton, RI 02878
Rhode Island Online Gambling Law
The gambling laws in Rhode Island prohibit most forms of gambling and poker – other than those that happen at racetracks, land-based casinos, charitable organizations and the one online sportsbook. When the state chose to legalize sports betting, they only allowed for one online sportsbook.
This may have some effect on the potential sports betting revenue.
However, the majority of rules and statutes in the state are aimed more at the operators than the players.
The main provision that does apply to sports bettors is as follows:
“Every person who shall frequent any gambling house or place where gaming is practiced or carried on, not in the performance of official duty and not being the landlord of that place entering to view the premises, shall be imprisoned not exceeding thirty (30) days.”
It is not fully clear whether the above statute can be interpreted to apply to players looking to visit an unlicensed offshore sports betting site. However, the state would need to pass a new law to regulate further online gambling operations other than that one online sportsbook run by the casinos. However, this is not looking likely in the near future.
The state also has other laws that would mean harsh penalties for those involved in the organization of illegal gambling. One part of the statute makes it a Class C felony to either be involved in or promote any illegal gambling enterprise. For those convicted of this, it could result in a fine of up to $2,000 plus a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.
The statute also makes it illegal to ‘induce others to visit a gambling place’ although how this might be interpreted by the law isn’t yet clear. However, it can mean a $500 fine and a maximum of one-year imprisonment for any persons who entice or persuades any other person to visit any location with the sole purpose of gambling.
Although none on the state’s statutes specifically mention online gambling sites. However, the law does specify a complete ban of anything that has not been authorized at state level.
Rhode Island Sports Betting FAQ
Is Sports Betting Legal in Rhode Island?
Yes, the law was passed to legalise sports betting in 2018. It is now available at the two Rhode Island casinos and the one state sports betting app.
Who Regulates Rhode Island Sports Betting?
The regulation and oversight of the state’s gambling industry is done by the Rhode Island Lottery. The lottery and casino have partnered with IGT and William Hill to provide sports betting. Meanwhile, the Rhode Island sports betting tax is split as follows:
- Rhode Island State gets 51%
- IGT receives 32%
- The state casino gets 17%
Where Can I Bet on Sports in Rhode Island?
There are two casinos in the state that offer sports betting:
- Twin River Casino (Lincoln)
- Twin River Tiverton Casino
In addition, you can wager on sports from anywhere in the state on the mobile app.
Is It Legal to Bet on Sports Online in Rhode Island?
Yes. Online sports betting was launched in Rhode Island towards the end of 2019. However, it was a requirement that registration would need to be done in person at one of the casinos. However, the opening of an online betting account remotely was permitted in 2020.
Is It Legal To Wager at an Unregulated Offshore Sportsbook?
No, it is not legal to wager at any casino that has not been licensed at state level – as no casino is licensed at federal level. If you opt to wager on them, the casino does not offer you any protection and if the site was to not payout winnings or stop trading without returning your funds, there would be very little you could do.
Is Betting on the Kentucky Derby Legal in Rhode Island?
Yes, Rhode Island residents can bet on the Kentucky Derby and all triple crown races at both of the casinos or the mobile betting app. There is also the option to play at the dedicated horse racing apps:
Twinspires, TVG and Twinspires.
All of these offer standard and simulcast wagering on horses.