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Rhode Island Gambling Online: an Expert Guide

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Gambling in Rhode Island

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Rhode Island Gambling Online: an Expert Guide

Rhode Island gambling laws allow a wide range of legal wagers, though online gambling is banned. The state’s lawmakers allowed pari-mutuel bets on thoroughbred racing as early as 1934, when Narragansett Park opened. Narragansett Park was where Seabiscuit won its first race, but the venerable race track closed by 1978. Lincoln Downs continued for decades more, but only because of a 1992 bill which allowed video lottery terminals (VLTs).

Since then, Rhode Island has seen a steady expansion of gambling at its two land-based casinos, now named Twin River Casino and Tiverton Casino. These days, the facilities have VLTs, live gaming tables, simulcasting, and off-track betting. The Rhode Island Lottery got an early start in 1974, while the state was one of the first to sign on to the multistate lottery association, Powerball, in 1988. It joined the Mega Millions multistate lottery association in 2010.

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Rhode Island Only Gambling FAQ

Rhode Island Gambling Laws

Gambling at casinos, sportsbooks, lottery vendors, and bingo halls is legal in Rhode Island. The state once had greyhound racing, thoroughbred racing, and harness racing, but the venues closed at various times over the decades. One race track became Twin River Casino, which has VLTs and live table games. Both casinos have simulcasting and pari-mutuel wagering, so they act as off-track betting facilities these days. Sports betting launched in late 2018.

Online gambling is illegal, but there are signs Rhode Island might legalize online lottery sales in the near future. If so, online casinos and poker rooms might follow. In 2018, Rhode Island State Rep. Charlene Lima introduced a bill to legalize online lottery ticket sales. The bill did not pass in 2018, but the state legislature passed the sports betting bill, so lawmakers are not dead-set against gambling.

One reason that legislators have been hesitant to approve online lottery sales because of the US Department of Justice’s ban of interstate online gambling. The New Hampshire Lottery is suing the DOJ because its policies limit their online lottery ticket sales, so Rhode Island might be waiting to see how the litigation plays out.

While land-based sports betting is now legal, mobile sports betting apps are still banned. In February 2019, the legislature began to debate the merits of mobile sports betting, so bookmaking might be expanded in 2020.

Does Rhode Island Have Land-Based Casinos?

Yes. Rhode Island has two land-based casinos: Tiverton Casino in Tiverton and Twin River Casino in Lincoln.

Yes. Rhode Island has two land-based casinos: Tiverton Casino in Tiverton and Twin River Casino in Lincoln. Twin River Casino operates on the grounds of a longstanding race track, Lincoln Downs, which opened in 1947. Lincoln Downs renamed itself to Lincoln Park in 1976, but continued to operate as a greyhound park into the 1990s, when the legislature allowed 192 video lottery terminals to be added to the complex in 1992. By 1993, the racino had 900 VLTs. Simulcasting was added in 1991, though pari-mutuel wagering became a smaller part of the operation over the next 20 years.

Does Rhode Island Have Any Legal Betting Tracks / Shops?

No. Though Lincoln Downs/Twin River Casino is technically a legal betting track, greyhound races have not been held on the site for years.

No. Though Lincoln Downs/Twin River Casino is technically a legal betting track, greyhound races have not been held on the site for years. Technically, Rhode Island allows pari-mutuel wagering, but in a small state, the business is no longer profitable. Simulcasting races from 200 tracks nationwide still takes place.

Narragansett Park near Pawtucket operated from 1934 to 1978, but has been closed for decades.

Does Rhode Island Allow Off-Track Betting?

Twin Rivers Casino and Tiverton Casino offer simulcasting.

Twin Rivers Casino and Tiverton Casino offer simulcasting. Since they have no races, these operations act as off-track betting facilities. Twin Rivers Casino has simulcasting every day but Tuesday. Tiverton Casino has simulcasting 5 days a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Simulcasting begins at noon at both facilities.

 

Does Rhode Island Allow Charitable Gambling?

Yes. The Charitable Gaming Unit oversees the licensing and regulation of Rhode Island’s charitable gambling.

Yes. The Charitable Gaming Unit oversees the licensing and regulation of Rhode Island’s charitable gambling. Originally, charitable gambling included provisions for raffles, week club raffles, poker nights, Las Vegas nights, and bazaars. When the General Assembly passed the Charitable Gaming Act in 1979, the Charitable Gaming Unit was placed under the auspices of the Rhode Island Lottery Commission. By 1983, the regulators passed under the authority of the Division of State Police.

The transfer of authority came after a 1982 grand jury was convened to investigate abuses of the bingo law. Eventually, the grand jury recommended the State Police oversee charitable gambling, because of its ability to e

Is Social Gaming Allowed in Rhode Island?

Yes. Rhode Island citizens can enjoy free-to-play social casino games on Facebook and other social gaming sites.

Yes. Rhode Island citizens can enjoy free-to-play social casino games on Facebook and other social gaming sites. Brands like Zynga, Big Fish Games, Slotomania, and Double Down Casino have downloadable mobile gaming apps that allow freeplay casino gaming. PlayMGM also has free casino games with the added advantage of offering MGM Resorts rewards. A player can enjoy free gaming on PlayMGM and win rewards which could be used at the MGM Springfield in Western Massachusetts.

If players wish to know if social casino games in the form of poker nights and Las Vegas nights are legal, they are not. In 1993, the Charitable Gaming Unit made it illegal for charitable organizations to raise funds with poker nights and Las Vegas nights.

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