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 and domestic sports betting, 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. Since domestic sports betting is still relatively new many Rhode Island residents interested in legally betting on sports will utilize licensed offshore sportsbooks. This guide will inform you of 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 online state-regulated sports betting. This means you won’t find any legal online sports betting options through domestic sportsbooks. However, online sports betting is legal through offshore sportsbooks outlined in this guide. Residents can participate in legal sports betting by using legitimate online sportsbook sites or by using a domestic sportsbook licensed by the state.
How Federal Laws Affect The Betting Landscape In Rhode Island
There are several relevant US sports betting laws that are applicable to American gamblers. The Federal Wire Act prohibits the placing of bets with US-based online sportsbooks across state lines. That’s not the only federal law that pertains to sports betting. 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. PASPA was another federal law that banned domestic sports betting in the US, but it was repealed in 2018.
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.
Rhode Island recently passed sports betting legislation and launched domestic sports betting in November of 2018. State 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 Commission and the Rhode Island Sweepstakes - Games of Chance.
Will Rhode Island Move To Legalize Online Sports Betting?
Yes, Rhode Island lawmakers have already passed legislation to allow domestic sports betting throughout the state. The bill has passed and sports betting officially launched in November of 2018. Domestic online sports betting legislation has not been passed, but it is possible in the future.
Why Wasn’t Rhode Island Exempted From PASPA?
The only four states that were exempted from PASPA was Oregon, Montana, Delaware, and Nevada. The reason these states were exempt is that 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. Since PASPA was repealed in 2018, states are now enacting sports betting laws across America.