While Rhode Island doesn’t have that large a population (and really isn’t that large a state either) being that size but surrounded by big decision makers allows the state to be very nimble when it comes to making laws. This can be seen in the way it has handled some gambling laws recently. This page will cover the current state of gambling in Rhode Island so you are as informed as can be on this topic.
Sports Betting in Rhode Island
When we mentioned how nimble Rhode Island was with regards to gambling laws, you need look no further than the state’s stance on regulated sports betting. Since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was repealed in May 2018, there has been a land grab by states on the east coast, all trying to get their states up and running with sports betting to collect as many players from in and out of state as possible. With many states around it still working out the details of legislation, Rhode Island snuck in with their own set of regulations. They awarded one license in the state (to the lottery, so basically to themselves) and they now offer sports betting in two land-based locations in the state, beating neighbors Connecticut and Massachusetts to the punch.
Online Sports Betting
The current sports betting legislation in Rhode Island does not include an online piece, and while this is something we expect will come along shortly.
The online sportsbook industry has seen a lot of change in the last couple of decades, but the core of the product hasn’t changed. Delivery of the lines and bets is changing, however, and the best sportsbooks are those that have adapted their offering to be easy to use not only on PCs but on all kinds of mobile devices. This is a critical part of the success of in-play betting – bets that take place while the game is underway – as these bets need to be placed very quickly before odds change. Modern gamblers expect all these features and therefore if Rhode Island wants to see its population keep playing on legal sports betting options, they will soon need to introduce online sports betting as well.
Horse Betting in Rhode Island
Horse racing is popular in Rhode Island, but there are no actual tracks offering live racing for viewers. There was at one point greyhound racing in the state, but this is being frowned upon more and more across the country, and this is why the state finally forced these tracks to stop racing dogs.
The tracks are still in operation from a pari-mutuel betting perspective, as patrons can visit the simulcast theaters and off-track betting facilities to make bets on races from all over the continent. Betting pools are created with tracks and OTBs from all over the country to provide much-needed cash flow to the tracks that are staging these races.
Online Horse Betting
While you can bet on horses and dogs at the local tracks in Rhode Island, those licensees are not allowed to offer online betting to residents of the state. However, all is not lost – there are several companies licensed outside Rhode Island that seem to be able to take action from residents without any repercussion. Companies like Twinspires are very active in the state, and players can simply create an account and bet from the comfort of their own homes, also watching the races directly with these sites via live stream.
Casino Gambling in Rhode Island
Despite being a smaller state, casino gambling is doing great business in Rhode Island. The state gets a lot of traffic from neighboring states to its two casino properties. These are full-scale casinos, featuring hundreds of table games tables as well as thousands of slot machines. It is in the casinos where the new sportsbooks will operate, combining all the gaming in one location. There is no pari-mutuel betting in the casinos currently, but that could also be an option with the launch of sports betting in the properties.
Online Casinos in Rhode Island
Online casino fans are faced with the same quandary as those of online sportsbooks. With no licensed operators in the state, Rhode Island residents can only gamble online with illegal operators offshore. this is of course a bad solution for everyone involved so we expect the state of Rhode Island to take it one step further soon and finally authorize online casino sites in the state.
Lottery in Rhode Island
There is nothing shocking about the lottery in Rhode Island. It has existed for many years and generates lots of money for social programs from the proceeds taken in from players. The state participates in the pooled lottery games like Powerball, which gives residents a chance to win the massive jackpots you hear about on the news. There are also lots of other draw games and scratch ticket instant games available to Rhode Island lottery enthusiasts.
Rhode Island Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Rhode Island?
We are very happy to report that yes, Rhode Island residents can gamble legally on sports. For the time being, you can only gamble legally in licensed facilities (the two casinos to start). We expect an expansion of physical sportsbook locations once the state gets a taste of the tax revenues.
When will online sports betting be legal in Rhode Island?
The first version of the sports betting legislation did not allow for online or mobile betting, but seeing how popular that is in other states, it won’t be long before Rhode Island’s legislature adds an amendment to the current regulations. We expect that residents will be able to bet from their mobile devices and PCs by the end of 2019.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of Rhode Island?
Rhode Island residents will want to find an online sportsbook focused on their marketing efforts. With so many fans of northeastern sports teams in the state, any online sportsbooks that give preference to people who bet on these teams would improve the overall experience. The rest of the makeup of the best online sportsbook is truly a personal preference – each site offers great core products, but some have a different look to them that may appeal more to different players.