Is Online Gambling Legal in Rhode Island?
No, as of early 2019 online gambling in the state of Rhode Island is not legal yet. This is because the Federal Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act are still firmly standing in the way of legal online gambling for many US residents. In order for residents to gamble safely and legally, the state will need to make an effort to pass a law that can outline and execute a new, safe and modern gambling environment.
States like New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and Pennsylvania have already succeeded in this endeavour and are able to provide online casino services to residents in the states. With Rhode Island having recently legalised online sports betting and are reaping the fruits of their labour as we speak, it would be the next logical step that the Ocean State will look towards legalising online casino as well.
While commercial casinos are completely legal within Rhode Island, you will only be able to find three of them within the state borders. Since the state is so small, there is no need for an excessive amount of land-based casinos, so you won’t hear the locals complaining about increasing the amount for convenience.
The three brick-and-mortar casinos in Rhode Island that are currently operational are: Tiverton Casino & Hotel, Twin River Casino and Newport Grand Casino. Each of them carry high-end facilities and over 5,000 slot machines, sports betting bookmakers and hundreds of casino table games.
As stated under the online gambling section, Rhode Island is not able to accept any wagers made on online casino games, whether that be games of chance or skill-based games. This also included online poker games and tournaments. Unfortunately it is not possible for poker fans to play the game online within the state of Rhode Island.
However, Twin Rivers Casino is the only land-based casino within the Ocean State that has fully equipped poker rooms and is yet to host a poker tournament. Currently, poker players from Rhode Island need to travel to either Massachusetts or Connecticut should they wish to participate in any of the thrilling poker tournaments hosted there.
Rhode Island is not the first to legalise sports betting, as seven other states have done so already, but many punters are glad that the goal has finally been reached. As of late 2018, players can place their bets at Twin River Casino on their favourite teams. With the Supreme Court having ruled the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) unconstitutional, it opened up the doors for states to come up with their own reform bills and lawmakers in Rhode Island have jumped at the opportunity to open up the market. Tax revenues have soared since the legalisation of sports betting and there is an annual sports betting revenue taxed at a whopping 51%.
But the state lawmakers have since not backed down and are not looking into making online sports betting via mobile devices legal for all residents within the state. The state will most likely adopt a similar law as can be found in New Jersey, where the server that host the online service needs to be located within a land-based casino. This means that Twin River Casino will most likely be the first casino to offer mobile wagering on sports.
Daily Fantasy Sports have always been a grey area within the United States and its strict laws on online wagering. While there are no clear laws that prohibit playing DFS in Rhode Island, until the online sports betting bill has been drafted and passed by the senate, it is not technically legal.
That being said, DFS providers like FanDuel and DraftKings have made no active attempt at blocking players based in Rhode Island from visiting the site or creating an account. This means you are free to play as you please without any repercussions.
On top of all the gambling facilities within the state, Rhode Island also has a state-funded lottery. Aptly named the Rhode Island Lottery, players are able to legally purchase lottery tickets and participate in both domestic and interstate draws. Available games are: Wild Money, Lucky for Life and The Numbers as well as international lottery draws such as PowerBall and Mega Millions.
Since 1974 the Rhode Island Lottery has transferred more than $6.9 billion back into the state’s treasury and donated thousands of dollars to charities, infrastructure and the education system within the state.
Every state has its own minimum age limit in order for the person to participate in casino games. In Rhode Island, a person needs to be a minimum of at least 18 years old in order to enter a land-based casino, provided the casino does not serve alcohol on the premises.
When it comes down to lottery draws, players need to be 18 years old in order to purchase a ticket. There is no age limit to charitable games such as raffles or bingo nights.
Overseeing the main gambling activities is the Rhode Island Lottery. The Rhode Island Lottery is responsible for protecting retailers and players alike, making sure all gambling activities are done in an orderly and safe manner.
Since Rhode Island is so small, the state did not feel the need to create a legislative body of its own. The Ocean State does not have a domesting gambling commission, but relies on the Massachusetts Gambling Commission to extend its help towards its neighbouring state.
If you are concerned about your gambling activities and would like to seek help, there are several options available to you. For residents in Rhode Island, you can contact the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline on 800-327-5050 from 8 AM to 10 PM from Monday to Friday and from 8 AM to 6 PM on weekends.
Likewise, should you wish to seek help anonymously, you may contact the national helpline by contacting the National Problem Gambling Helpline on the details below:
This small state has made some seriously large leaps in terms of safe and secure gambling development, especially within the sports betting jurisdiction. It seems as if lawmakers within the state are keen on legalising all forms of gambling and have slowly started to draft new bills that would make online casinos legal in the near future. In the meantime, residents in Rhode Island don’t have to complain as there are three spectacular land-based casinos available, with one of them accepting sports betting wagers. Online sports betting is soon to become legalised and who knows what the next step will be. All in all, the future is looking bright for casino fanatics and poker players in Rhode Island.