What types of gambling are legal in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island offers most forms of legalized gambling. There is a state lottery, daily fantasy sports, horseracing, casinos, sports betting and charitable gaming. This gives residents and visitors many forms of gaming entertainment.
Casinos are regulated by the state lottery. All standard games are spread there. Locations are up to local jurisdictions. There are currently two in the state.
This list shows the types of gambling found in Rhode Island and where to find it:
- Horseracing (live, off-track and mobile)
- Lottery (scratch-offs and keno online or in-person; lotto sales at retailers)
- Slots, video poker and table games (at the state’s two video lottery casinos)
- Bingo and raffles (registered charities)
- Poker (video lottery casinos)
- Fantasy sports (online only)
- Sports betting (at racetracks, no mobile)
Online Gambling in Rhode Island
There are two forms of legal online gambling in Rhode Island. Horseracing bets may be made online and on mobile apps through TVG, TwinSpires and BetAmerica. Daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings, FanDuel, Fantasy Draft and Yahoo accept players from Rhode Island.
Online Gambling Laws in Rhode Island
There are no laws in Rhode Island that cover online gambling. Legal horseracing was permitted by state regulators without a change in law due to the federal Horseracing Act. Daily fantasy sports contests were legalized through a release by the state attorney general that opined that it is not considered to be a form of gambling under state law. Otherwise, it is assumed that any form of online gambling not licensed by the state is illegal.
Rhode Island Casinos
There are two land-based casinos in Rhode Island. One is Tiverton Casino in Tiverton. The other is Twin River Casino in Lincoln. Rhode Island casinos are regulated by the state lottery. All forms of typical games are legal. This includes slots, video poker, keno, blackjack, craps, roulette, proprietary table games and electronic ones. Off-track betting and sports betting are also permitted at Rhode Island’s two casinos.
Land-based Casinos in Rhode Island
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Casino Laws in Rhode Island
Rhode Island casinos were created in 1992 through Title 42-61.2. This permitted the state’s two pari-mutuel racing sites to offer slots, video poker, keno and electronic table games. The state lottery regulated these games. The video lottery casinos are at Lincoln Park, later renamed Twin River Casino, and Tiverton Casino.
In 2012, two ballot questions were asked to permit live table games and poker. Question 1 expanded gambling to live tables at Twin River Casino. It passed by a 70 to 30 margin. Question 2 passed by a two-to-one margin. It permitted live tables at Newport Grand which later transferred its gaming license to Tiverton Casino. Question 2 in 2014 was approved by voters. This law states that a casino may not move the location of its license without approval from municipalities.
Slots are taxed at a rate of 68.85 percent up to 74 percent, depending on the volume. The lottery also pays an annual management fee to the casinos. This amount is $385,000 to Tiverton Casino and $767,000 to Twin River Casino. Taxes generated from gaming go to the Rhode Island general fund.
All standard casino games are legal at Rhode Island casinos. There are no game or bet limits at the state’s casinos.
Sports Betting in Rhode Island
Rhode Island permits its two casinos to have sportsbooks. These are located at Twin River and Tiverton Casino. All forms of bets may be made at these sportsbooks. This includes straights, parlays, teasers and other exotics. All major sports are on the board. This includes college sports, which are banned in some states.
William Hill and IGT share management duties at both Rhode Island sportsbooks. It also has a mobile app. Sports bettors must be at least 21 years of age. The mobile app only works within the Rhode Island state line.
Sports Betting Laws in Rhode Island
In 2018, S 2045 passed the state legislature and was signed into law. It allowed the state’s two lottery casinos to offer sports betting. It permits bets on all professional sports. Bets on college events are allowed. However, ones that take place in Rhode Island or involving a team from the state are prohibited from the betting boards.
The original legislation only permitted sports betting at casinos. It was expanded to mobile betting throughout the state in 2019 through S 37. Accounts must be created at one of the state’s sportsbooks.
The state takes a 51 percent tax rate on gross gaming revenue generated from sports betting. Bettors must be at least 21 years of age.
A lawsuit hopes to strike down the legislature’s right to expand gambling to sports. It has been dismissed three times. A fourth lawsuit is pending.
Poker in Rhode Island
Poker is legal at the state’s two casinos. Only one offers a poker room. It is at Twin River Casino. It spreads 22 tables. The main game is no limit Texas Hold’em. Cash games and tournaments are available. There is no bet limit.
Rhode Island Poker Room List
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Poker Laws in Rhode Island
Poker was legalized at Rhode Island casinos when voters expanded gaming to table games in 2012. It was created through Question 1.
Home Poker Games
There is no social gaming exception to Rhode Island’s gambling laws. Poker games are considered lotteries in the state. Only the Rhode Island Lottery may offer these games under the law. This likely makes home poker games and other forms of friendly wagering illegal in the state.
Fantasy Sports in Rhode Island
Fantasy sports contests are available to Rhode Island residents. All major sites, such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Fantasy Draft and Yahoo, accept players from the state. Rhode Island players may enter all contests.
Fantasy Sports Laws in Rhode Island
There are no laws covering fantasy sports in Rhode Island. The state attorney general published an opinion in 2016 that noted these games are ones of skill according to his interpretation of the state’s gambling definition through its dominant factor of chance, or lack thereof.
Rhode Island Lottery
Rhode Island has a state lottery. It sells traditional tickets such as scratch-off instant games and ones for lotto drawings. It has keno drawings every four minutes most hours of the day. Bingo games are played every eight minutes. The Rhode Island Lottery also operates the state’s two casinos.
Scratch-off tickets start at $1 and run up to $25. Keno and bingo tickets are $1 to $10. There are three interstate and two intrastate lotto drawings available through the Rhode Island Lottery.
In 2020, the Rhode Island Lottery began selling instant win games and keno online. Customers must be 18 or older to participate and located within state lines. Lottery players may download the RI Lottery app or visit RILot.com to play.
Interstate Rhode Island Lotto Drawings
- Lucky for Life
- Mega Millions
Interstate Rhode Island Lotto Drawings
- The Numbers
- Wild Money
Rhode Island Lottery Laws
The Rhode Island Lottery was created through Proposal 4, a referred constitutional referendum. It passed by a 62 to 38 margin on November 6, 1973. Ticket sales started the next year after the legislature passed the framework.
The Rhode Island Lottery is permitted to sell tickets for games of chance. This includes instant and number games. In 1992, the state lottery was approved to manage video casinos at the state’s two racetracks. This expanded to live table games in 2012 and sports betting in 2018.
Rhode Island Horse Racing
Rhode Island permits live and off-track bets on horse races. Bets may be made at a track or on mobile apps. The books are at the state’s two lottery casinos. BetAmerica, TVG and Twin Spires accept mobile horse bets in Rhode Island.
Live greyhound racing is illegal in Rhode Island. However, off-track betting on horse races is legal.
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Rhode Island Racing Laws
Pari-mutuel betting pools on horses was approved by voters in 1934. It passed by a margin of almost three to one. Off-track betting was approved in 1991. Live races may only be on horses. Live greyhound racing was banned in 2010. No tracks offered the activity at the time it was made unlawful.
Rhode Island Skill-based Gaming Laws
Skill games may have some degree of luck. For example, the state attorney general noted that while daily fantasy sports contests have a degree of chance, skill is the dominant factor. This makes placing money on skill contests, even if there is a degree of luck, legal.
eSports games are not specifically addressed in Rhode Island law. There are so social gaming exceptions to the state’s gaming law. This means that betting on eSports is likely to be illegal in Rhode Island.
Traditional Games of Skill
If skill is the dominant factor in an outcome, the game is legal in Rhode Island. This makes sites like Worldwinner able to accept players from the state. Sweepstakes sites are also permitted.
Skill-based Gaming Machines
Skill-based gaming machines are legal of chance is not the dominant factor in the outcome. This permits machines where skill is the dominant factor. These games are available in arcades, casinos and tavern contests.
Rhode Island Charity Gambling Law
Registered Rhode Island charities may operate bingo games and raffles. These are permitted under Rhode Island Criminal Code 11-19-32. Prizes may not exceed $7,500 per session. Workers may be compensated no more than $25. It must be in prizes and not cash. Players and volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.
Charitable gaming in Rhode Island started in January 1983. At the time, it included casino nights. These were removed from the list of permissible games in 1993, just before the state legalized video lottery casinos at racetracks.