Legal Sports Report

Rhode Island Sports Betting

Rhode Island became the eighth state 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 soon will have mobile sports betting. A launch is expected by September or October.

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.

Recent Rhode Island sports betting news

Legal sports betting basics in Rhode Island

Rhode Island sports betting started November 26, 2018 in Lincoln.

Gov. Gina Raimondo allocated revenue from sports betting in her budget proposal, so we know the state is counting on tax revenue. Rhode Island joined Delaware, New Jersey, West VirginiaMississippi, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico in starting a sports betting operation at some point in 2018.

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 will soon be expanding into the online realm.

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 will be split as follows:

  • State: 51 percent
  • IGT: 32 percent
  • Casino: 17 percent

Where can I bet on sports in Rhode Island?

Sports betting is limited to the state’s two casinos:

  • Twin River Casino (Lincoln)
  • Twin River Tiverton Casino

Will mobile sports betting be available in Rhode Island?

Yes, and it’s on the way soon.

The original law included only in-person betting at the Twin River casinos, but the legislature has since passed an expansion to allow statewide mobile betting. That bill was signed into law in March 2019 and launch is pending.

Who can apply for a Rhode Island sports betting license?

Nobody, as of now. The lottery operates the industry through the state’s two casinos, and there don’t appear to be any mechanics for application or licensure.

Who can bet on sports in Rhode Island?

The legal gambling age in Rhode Island is 18 years old.

Rhode Island sports betting timeline

2018: Sports betting appears

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.

Gov. Gina 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 barring an issue in review. The group already provides the state’s lottery platform, so the expansion isn’t much of a stretch.

The state legislature passed Raimondo’s budget including sports betting in mid-June. Raimondo signed Rhode Island sports betting into law on June 22.

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