Rhode Island added fully mobile sports betting during the 2020 legislature and appears ready to move its operation into the modern-day era.
The state became the eighth to offer sports betting in 2018, months after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. In early 2019, lawmakers expanded the existing provisions to include online and mobile betting. Rhode Island launched mobile sports betting with in-person registration in late 2019.
Sports betting apps in Rhode Island
Mobile sports betting in Rhode Island is conducted by the Rhode Island Lottery, powered by William Hill on an IGT platform.
You can download the mobile app and soon will be able to register remotely without visiting Twin River Casino or Twin River Tiverton in person to verify your identity.
You don’t have to be a resident of Rhode Island, but you do have to be within the state’s borders to place a bet.
The original law limited sports betting to in-person at the Twin River casinos, but the legislature soon realized that was a mistake and passed an expansion to allow statewide mobile betting. That bill was signed into law in March 2019.
Recent Rhode Island sports betting news
Legal sports betting options in Rhode Island
People within the borders of Rhode Island can now bet on professional, collegiate, and international sporting events. Voters twice approved casino gambling in the state — once in 2012 and again in 2016. Those two referendums authorized the construction of two Class III casinos and sports betting. Rhode Island state legislators formally authorized sports betting via the state budget process in 2018.
The only legal requirements are that you are at least 18 years old, inside state lines, and not on a self-exclusion list. There is no requirement to be a permanent resident of Rhode Island.
Wagers are offered on major professional, collegiate, and international sports. In-play wagering is allowed, though such wagers are being rolled out slowly.
Wagering is not allowed on “any collegiate sports or athletic event that takes place in RI or a sports contest or athletic event in which any Rhode Island college team participates, regardless of where the event takes place”.
There is only one legal sports betting website in Rhode Island.
There are also illegal offshore websites that offer sports betting in Rhode Island. Without regulation from the state, these offshore betting apps can’t be counted on to pay out winnings and have been known to disappear with people’s money.
Most popular/potential sports to bet on in Rhode Island
With just over a million people in the state, Rhode Island doesn’t have any professional sports teams.
But, with just 50 miles separating Providence from Boston, Rhode Islanders aren’t stretching it to consider Boston teams their own. They tend to root for the New England Patriots in the NFL, Boston Celtics in the NBA, Boston Red Sox in Major League Baseball and Boston Bruins in the NHL.
In NCAA men’s basketball, the Rhode Island Rams play Cinderella from time to time. They made the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2018 and the Elite Eight in 1998.
Rhode Island and Daily Fantasy Sports
In 2016, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin released an opinion that daily fantasy sports were legal under state law. The decision was based on fantasy sports being a game requiring skill, and not predominantly determined by chance.
His opinion gave DFS sites such as DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo!, and Fantasy Draft the green light to operate in Rhode Island.
Kilmartin implored the legislature to enact a law regulating daily fantasy sports in the state, but that has yet to happen.
Is horse racing legal in Rhode Island?
Horse betting is legal in Rhode Island, but the state hasn’t offered live horse racing in more than four decades.
Rhode Island legalized parimutuel betting in 1934 and had a rich history with horse racing. One of the most beloved racehorses of all time, Seabiscuit, won his first race at Narragansett Park in 1935.
The two main racetracks in the state closed in the 1970s. In fact, Twin Rivers Casino is built on the former location of Lincoln Downs.
Rhode Island sportsbooks and casinos
The first legal sports bets in Rhode Island were taken on Nov. 26, 2018 at Twin River Casino in Lincoln. RI sports betting expanded to Twin River Tiverton Casino on Dec. 3, 2018. They are the only physical sportsbooks located in New England. Both casinos are about an hour’s drive from Boston.
The bookmaking is provided by William Hill on a sports betting platform from IGT.
Twin River Casino (Lincoln)
Sportsbook Bar & Grill features a 3,600 square foot sports betting venue with more than 100 TVs, odds boards, comfortable seating areas, and a full bar and dining menu.
Address: 100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI 02865
Sportsbook Hours: M-F 11 a.m. to midnight, Sat-Sun 9 a.m. to midnight
Twin River Tiverton Casino
The smaller of the state’s two casinos has an enticing location just a mile from the Massachusetts border. The sportsbook is located at the simulcast theater. The casino has 1,000 video slot machines and 32 gaming tables.
Address: 777 Tiverton Casino Blvd, Tiverton, RI 02878
Sportsbook Hours: M-F 11 a.m. to midnight, Sat-Sun 9 a.m. to midnight
Rhode Island sports betting timeline
Realizing the amount of RI sports betting revenue the state was leaving unrealized by not offer mobile sports wagering, a group of Senators introduced S 37.
The bill passed the Senate in February and the House in March. Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the bill into law by the end of the month.
A standalone sports betting bill (S 2045) appeared in January, sponsored by a handful of senators.
The bill moved to allow the RI Lottery to operate sports betting at the two Twin River casinos. Wagering on collegiate sports would be allowed, excluding those involving Rhode Island teams or games.
Raimondo immediately adopted the language into her budget proposal, projecting $23.5 million in revenue from the activity. House lawmakers later contested those numbers but not the line-item inclusion of sports betting.
On May 15 — the day after the SCOTUS ruling — Rhode Island lawmakers held the nation’s first post-PASPA hearing. During the chat, it became clear that the small state was quite serious about sports betting. Lottery staff showed an active request for proposal, soliciting a technology partner to provide the sportsbook know-how.
IGT was the only bidder, seemingly earning the gig by default. The group already provided the state’s lottery platform.
The state legislature passed Raimondo’s budget including sports betting in mid-June. Raimondo signed Rhode Island sports betting into law on June 22.
Rhode Island sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Rhode Island?
Yes. Thanks to the law passed in 2018 by the state legislature, Rhode Island sports betting is legal. It’s active at two casinos and one sports betting app.
Who oversees Rhode Island sports betting?
The Rhode Island Lottery is charged with regulation and oversight of the industry. IGT functions as a partner of the lottery and casinos, helping to operate sports betting. As such, sports betting tax revenue is split as follows:
- State: 51 percent
- IGT: 32 percent
- Casino: 17 percent
Where can I bet on sports in Rhode Island?
You can bet on sports from anywhere within the state of Rhode Island via mobile app on your smart device.
In-person sports betting is available at the state’s two casinos:
- Twin River Casino (Lincoln)
- Twin River Tiverton Casino
Is online sports betting available in Rhode Island?
Yes, online sports betting in Rhode Island began late in 2019. The state allowed for remote registration of sports betting accounts during the 2020 legislature.
Who can bet on sports in Rhode Island?
The legal gambling age in Rhode Island is 18 years old.
There are some sports betting websites that say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?
No. There are currently no sportsbook operators licensed at the federal level. All US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level. This means that any website that suggests it allows betting from anywhere in the US is a website that operators offshore. It is not legal for those sites to accept bets from US citizens and those sites offer no protection to those who bet on them.