Gambling in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Gambling LawsRhode Island’s gambling industry usually plays ‘catch-up’ with its state neighbors. Rhode Island legalized horse-racing, a state lottery, video-lottery-terminals and casino table-games after other states in the New England region.

In June 2018, however, Rhode Island legislated to beat other New England states to-the-punch by legislating in favor of launching sports betting. October 1 2018 has been set aside as the date for gambling on sports to begin.

Rhode Island offers its residents;

  • Legalized Sportsbook Betting (From October 1 2018).
  • Betting (including Poker) at 2 land-based Casinos in RI (Rhode Island).
  • Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS).
  • Horse Racing Betting, simulcast betting and gambling online.
  • A State Lottery.
  • Charitable Gaming.

Gambling age in RI (Rhode Island)

The Legal Age for ALL forms of gambling in Rhode Island is 18.

Rhode Island Gambling Tax

Rhode Island’s State Gambling Tax is 7% on winnings.
Large Gambling wins in Rhode Island over $1200 may be subject to an additional Federal Tax.

Rhode Island Sports Betting Legislation

Rhode Island is one of several states that will soon offer sports betting later in 2018 (October 1 2018), legislating soon after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down PASPA (he Federal Act banning nationwide sports betting) in May 2018, which made sports betting in the USA legal.

Rhode Island’s Voters twice approved casino gambling in the state — once in 2012 and again in 2016. At the time, those two referendums also authorized sports betting, thus making it a speedy process for the state to quickly legalize sports betting soon after the Federal ban was dismissed earlier this year.

Rhode Island state legislators formally authorized sports betting and sportsbooks via the state budget process in 2018.

Sports Betting in Rhode Island

Beginning in Rhode Island from October 1 2018, courtesy of the law passed in 2018 by the state legislature, Rhode Island sports betting will become legal through the state’s two approved and licensed land-based casinos only. See below for information on sports betting online.

Sports Betting Online

Mobile and sports gambling online were not included in the Rhode Island Sports Betting bill signed into law in June 2018.That means bettors will be required to place their wagers in-person at one of the state’s two land-based casino properties.

Rhode Island’s State officials have, however, indicated a willingness and increased appetite to consider expansion to both online gambling and retail platforms in the future.

However, DFS and online Horse Racing Betting sites are all open to accept online players from the state of Rhode Island.

Casinos in Rhode Island

There are literally hundreds of lottery retailers and a handful of bingo halls (charitable gambling only) in Rhode Island. On the other hand, there are only two legal land-based casinos at which to gamble.

Rhode Island Land-based Casinos

Both of Rhode Island’s land-based casinos offer live horse racing, off-track horse racing, off-track greyhound racing, slots, video poker and electronic table games. Great table game options also exist including live poker, craps, roulette, Big 6 Wheel, blackjack baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, Let it Ride and Three Card Poker.

You’ll find more than 5200 slots and gaming machines at Rhode Island’s casinos and there is a total of more than 124 table games. According to our intensive research by a panel of state experts on the casinos of Rhode Island, the minimum bet we’ve located at casinos in Rhode Island is $0.01 and the maximum bet limits are generous (including some No Limit Poker Tables).

Rhode Island Online Casinos

Like of the majority of Americans when it comes to online gambling, residents of Rhode Island are a little frustrated.
Rhode Island’s original laws include no specific mention to online gambling, or even the terms “internet” and “electronic,” and no amendments or bills addressing the industry have been introduced.

Players in Rhode Island can however, access online gambling sites that are fully regulated and linked to land-based casinos in the state. Delaware even publicly floated the possibility of linking ‘jackpot liquidity’ with Rhode Island – suggesting that online gambling regulation maybe in the pipeline in the near future.

Take note, that Rhode Island doesn’t mess around with operators of illegal online gambling sites.

Rhode Island state police force made national headlines in April 2016, after a raid which culminating in dozens of arrests of people allegedly running an illegal online sportsbook.

Our advice to Rhode Island residents or visitors is simple: Obey all online gambling laws and until notice of online gambling legalization, don’t use online casinos (US-based or Offshore) within the Rhode Island’s state limits.

As mentioned previously, the great news is that online players resident or visiting within in the state limits of Rhode Island, Daily Fantasy Sports and online Horse Racing Betting sites are all open to accept online players from within the state. (Note, geolocators will be used to determine if you and your mobile device or PC are physically located within the state limits of Rhode Island).

Horse Racing Betting in Rhode Island

Rhode Island no longer has any live horse racing or live greyhound racing options. Simulcasting of national U.S. and international racing events has replaced live racing in Rhode Island. The state’s two simulcasting facilities have become casinos featuring Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) and additionally, one of the facilities has table games.

Track Side / OTB: The former live racing venues in Rhode Island and the state’s two land-based casinos effectively function as the states’ official OTB agencies. No additional stand-alone OTB facilities exist in the state.

Online Betting on Horse Racing: In Rhode Island, online racebooks have small initial deposit requirements and provide the convenience of betting anytime, anywhere on a PC or mobile device. Rhode Island residents over the age of 18 all have full legal access to online horse betting sites that offer betting on races throughout the U.S.A and across the world.
If you can’t physically get to a simulcast facility to bet on big events like the Kentucky Derby, you can still place wagers on the race with an online account and all 100% legally.

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) Betting Laws in Rhode Island

U.S. federal legislation as it has long exempted Daily Fantasy Sports from Federal jurisdiction on gambling as DFS has been legally assessed to be considered a contest of skill, not a gambling game of chance.

In early 2016, Rhode Island Attorney-General, Peter Kilmartin assessed the DFS sites do not constitute gambling, and were legal within State lines. Consequently, to this point in time, State Legislators have not been required to pass legislation on DFS in Rhode Island.
All of the major DFS sites are currently authorized to continue holding real money contests in the state of Rhode Island.

How DFS Works

DFS is a completely different form of sports betting to traditional sports wagering. Betting on teams to win and/or lose plays no part whatsoever. On the other hand, with DFS you must became an expert in player performance and statistics in order to be successful.

Becoming a ‘virtual team manager or owner’ in DFS, you are required to balance a ‘virtual’ salary cap, that you use to ‘buy’ players for your DFS team.
Staying within budget is essential to your success as a DFS player.

Let’s analyze, using the example of an NBA DFS league for example;

The theory is to assemble a team that amasses the most points, rebounds, assists, 3-pointers etc., and other key relevant statistics over the course of the season, or in the short-term, each week. These stats are translated into ‘points’ for your team.

DFS players can choose a new fantasy NBA team each week: investing a fixed amount of (imaginary) money on centers, point guards, power forwards, swing men, bench-sitters etc.

Every player has their own price tag customized by the fantasy sports operators, and those price tags are usually determined by player performance throughout their individual careers and the current season.

For example, a superstar forward like Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans will potentially cost a lot more than a struggling and out of form, Luol Deng of the Los Angeles Lakers.

‘Paying’ more for an NBA superstar like Anthony Davis, can potentially leave an NBA DFS contestant ‘short-changed’ in their virtual budget, with less to spend on other quality players for their fantasy team.

Most frequently, outstanding and champion DFS players are all excellent ‘budget balancers’ generating the best value for money out of their chosen players. (Take note, fans of the hit movie ‘Moneyball’).

All of the major U.S. sporting leagues all have DFS leagues running throughout the regular season and play-offs, and huge jackpot prizes of more than $1 million per week, per league can potentially paid out to weekly DFS winners.

Poker Laws in Rhode Island

No establishments in Rhode Island cater specifically to Poker games. However, legal Poker is carried out in Rhode Island through the state’s 2 legal land-based Casinos.
Social ‘home’ Poker games are not exactly legal in Rhode Island. Playing home poker games can run afoul of the state laws, not just because there is no specific exception for such games and player beware.

Online Poker in Rhode Island

No online poker is available in Rhode Island – See above section regarding online casinos in Rhode Island for full details.

eSports Betting in Rhode Island

From October 1 2018 onwards when legal sports betting will open for business in Rhode Island, eSports will become one of the most revolutionary and cutting-edge ways to assist gamblers to convert their wagers into winnings at the state’s legal sportsbooks.

If you’re not aware, eSports is simply video game play at the very highest level and it has in a few short years, become a full-fledged professional sport. eSports are usually played in a team format in leagues and tournaments worldwide, rather than at an individual level.

The specific electronic games themselves are like different sports types, much in the same way that football, baseball, basketball and hockey are different types of sports.

In eSports, CS:GO and Fortnite, for example, are equivalent to say, hockey and basketball. eSports is the overall concept (like Sports), and the game variations are similar to the individual types of sports in traditional sports betting.

eSports wagering grows in popularity each and every year. An increasing number of international sportsbooks now offering a range of betting markets across all major eSports tournaments. In some U.S. states, it is eSports that is driving the change to sports betting legalization through legislation.

From October 1 2018, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for eSports betting at your favorite Rhode Island sportsbook.

History of gambling in Rhode Island

1934 – Horse Racing Betting was first introduced to Rhode Island at two racetracks in the state. Due to competition from larger New England states, live horse racing closed down in Rhode Island. Today, simulcast betting and online horse racing is available in Rhode Island.
1973 – Rhode Island State Lottery begins and in 1975, it became the first state lottery in the United States to broadcast the lottery draw on television.
1979 – Charitable Gaming Legalized on a limited and state licensed basis for poker, casino nights, bingo and raffles. In 1993, the provisions for charitable casino nights and charitable poker were annulled
2003 – Video Lottery Terminals (VLTS) introduced at one of the state’s former racetracks to become a ‘racino’.
2010 – Table games became legal in both the state’s casinos.
2012 – Residents of one of the two casino areas in Rhode Island overturn the legalization of table games by local referendum.
2016 – Rhode Island Attorney General, Peter Kilmartin, deems Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) not to be gambling and therefore legal, thus removing the requirement for legalization by the Rhode Island State Legislature.
2018 – Sports Betting Legalized at Rhode Island Casinos.
2019? – Online Casinos in Rhode Island to be legalized on the back of a successful implementation of Rhode Island Sports Betting?



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