Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that there is little sports or gambling action. The state has two casinos in the Newport Grand Casino and Twin River Casino. The Twin Rivers is the only one that offers live table games, while the Newport Grand is restricted to slots. Both casinos are state-regulated, and their presence alone shows some interest in the gambling industry. The state is considered part of New England, so locals often follow New England sports teams. However, there is no state based legal or regulated sports betting in RI. If Rhode Island residents are interested in legally betting on sports, there are opportunities available to them through licensed offshore sportsbooks that are located in a jurisdiction where gambling is considered legal. This guide will inform you on the laws surrounding sports betting in the Ocean State and how you can safely and legally place bets with offshore sportsbooks.
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Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Rhode Island?
Rhode Island gambling laws don’t allow for any state-regulated sports betting. This means you won’t find any legal sports betting options through the Lottery or through any physical or online sportsbooks. However, sports betting is legal through the offshore sportbooks that we’ve outlined in this guide. There is a federal law known as the Federal Wire Act that prohibits Americans from placing bets with US based sportsbooks, so even if Rhode Island state law tried to initiate a sports betting market, the Federal Wire Act would block it. Residents can participate in legal sports betting by using legitimate offshore gambling sites—sites that are legally regulated and subject to strict regulatory oversight and compliance requirements.
How Federal Laws Affect The Betting Landscape In Rhode Island
There are several relevant US sports betting laws that are applicable to American gamblers. As mentioned earlier, the Federal Wire Act prohibits the placing of bets with US based online sportsbooks across the nation, including Rhode Island. That’s not the only federal law that pertains to sports betting. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, bans all but four states from having physical sportsbooks like the ones you’d find in Las Vegas. Another law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), pertains to the financial side of online gambling. There is a misconception surrounding this law that it restricts people from placing bets online, however this is not true. It actually provides regulatory oversight to gambling related transactions and deals with financial institutions and how they process these transactions. These federal laws pertain only to US based online gambling and sportsbooks. The legal offshore sportsbooks we suggest in this guide are outside the jurisdiction of US federal law, so they are safe for Rhode Island residents to use.
State Specific Gambling Laws In Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s gambling laws are straightforward. The state regulated forms of gambling come through the state Lottery and through the two casinos in the state. Both areas where the casinos are located had voter referendums to permit live games like poker, though it only passed for the Twin River casino. The state hasn’t pushed any additional pro-gambling or pro-sports betting legislation forward, so it is hard to gauge the mentality of Rhode Island residents and their opinions on the industry. Even if they tried to launch some form of pro-sports betting initiative, PASPA would overrule their effort. There are other states fighting for the right to have sports betting, and if they win their case then perhaps Rhode Island will try something similar. As it stands now, Rhode Island is a bit of a question mark when it comes to the sports betting legalization effort. The state's gambling laws and statutes can be found here: RI Gambling Laws. State based gambling in Rhode Island is overseen through four primary agencies: the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation; Rhode Island State Police - Charitable Gaming Unit; Rhode Island Lottery Commissionand the Rhode Island Sweepstakes - Games of Chance.
Will Rhode Island Move To Legalize Online Sports Betting?
There are several states that have began pushing for sports betting legalization, such as New Jersey and Michigan, but Rhode Island has yet to join the resistance. In order for anything to happen in the state, state legislators would have to put together a bill that would propose a legal and regulated sports betting industry. That bill would have to pass a voter referendum. Even if Rhode Island were able to pass legislation on a state level, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act would still block any significant moves towards legalizing sports betting. New Jersey attempted to circumvent PASPA through its legislation but was quickly met with a lawsuit from the major professional sports leagues. Most league commissioners have since eased their stance on the industry, but nothing has happened yet in terms of repealing or amending PASPA.
Why Isn’t Rhode Island Exempted From PASPA?
The only four states exempted from PASPA are Oregon, Montana, Delaware and Nevada. The reason these states are exempt is because they already had some form of legal state-regulated sports betting in place. Out of these four states, Nevada is the only one with full-fledged sportsbooks. The other states had some other form of sports gambling (like through the Lottery, for example). In 1992, when PASPA was passed, Rhode Island had no form of sports betting or any ongoing efforts to bring it to the state, so it fell under the clout of PASPA.