Legal Rhode Island Sports Betting

Legal Rhode Island sports betting launched officially in November 2018 after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Since then, the two Rhode Island casinos – Twin River Casino & Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel – host legal sports betting for all Rhode Island players. However, online sports betting is the primary way many bet due to not having to travel to a land-based sportsbook. Betting lines for some of the biggest sporting events of the year, such as the Super Bowl or March Madness, will be readily available at these online sportsbooks. They both offer full-scale wagering via straight bets, live in-game betting, props, spreads, totals, futures bets, and parlays with excellent service from the attentive venue cashiers.

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Bovada Sportsbook

The Leading Online Sportsbook For Rhode Island Bettors

Bovada is arguably the leading legal online sportsbook that there is to offer for Rhode Island Sports Bettors. Sports betting in Rhode Island is fully legal which means using Bovada should come with no hesitation or concerns. Some of the things that Bovada strives off of which makes them a top online sportsbook are their incredible customer service, the wide variety of sports that bettors can find odds on and the great bonuses that they offer to their new and existing users. As for the odds that they offer, bettors can find odds on all the local sports in the New England area as well as different prop bets for them as well.

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Rhode Island Sports Betting And Gambling Laws

There are numerous state laws regarding what is and what is not legal gambling in Rhode Island, and the barred forms of betting used to vastly outnumber what was considered legal. Rhode Island General Laws § 11-19-1, which dated back all the way back to 1896, prohibited any individual from “directly or indirectly” engaging in the business of any kind of gambling, which state law classified as lotteries or games of chance “of any nature or kind whatsoever” by which money or things of value, including property, could be won.

However, this all changed in 2018 when legislators made the appropriate changes to state laws and put regulations in place to build a sports betting industry in Rhode Island by approving Senate Bill 2045. This allows for only two licenses in the state, which were given to the Twin River casinos. IGT is the operator of these books and was surprisingly the only bidder to seek a service contract from Twin Rivers.

What Teams Can I Bet On?

As might be expected of the smallest state in the nation, Rhode Island is not home to any major professional sports teams. However, the appropriately named New England Patriots – who have been odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl for many years in the recent past – fill the football niche for most states in the region. Why shouldn’t the Pats be a Rhode Islander’s team? Their stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, is just 20 miles north of Providence, and New England has had more success in the past generation than any other NFL team. 

Most Rhode Island sports fans also pull for MLB’s Boston Red Sox, which won MLB’s first-ever World Series in 1903 (with four more victories through 1918) but then didn’t do so again until 2004. Since then, the Sox have reliably matched their rival Yankees (another popular team for RI baseball fans and bettors) as the best in the business with several more championships to their credit. The interest of Ocean State fans in Boston’s team is stoked by the presence of the Pawtucket Red Sox, a Triple A-International League team affiliated with Boston. Pawtucket has a solid roll of winning seasons, and they’ve claimed numerous league titles in their history.

Rhode Island has several high-profile collegiate sports programs despite its small size, and several legendary sports figures are graduates of the school, including former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and even John William Heisman, who gives the Heisman Trophy its name. The Brown University Bears, competing in the Ivy League, are nationally known for their consistent top-5 rowing program, while the Bryant University Bulldogs, in the Northeast Conference, are steadily moving up in the world of collegiate basketball. The Providence College Friars have similarly been making big moves in the Big East Conference, earning around a half-dozen NCAA championship tournament berths in recent years. However, if you wish to wager on local NCAA teams, you cannot do so via state-based books and will have to use an offshore option. This is because RI law prohibits wagering on RI college teams. (Other NCAA contests including non-RI teams are eligible to wager on at in-state books, however.)

Most Popular Teams In Rhode Island

New England Patriots (NFL) Boston Red Sox (MLB) Boston Celtics (NBA)
Boston Bruins (NHL) Brown University Bears (NCAA) Bryant University Friars (NCAA)

How To Bet On The Bears In Rhode Island

Sports bettors of Rhode Island can run into some issues when trying to bet on in-state events or college teams. This is due to state law, which prevents sports bettors of the state from placing such bets. Sports bettors of the state that still wish to bet on in-state college teams like Brown or Providence can still do so by utilizing one of the many overseas-based online sportsbooks, which fall outside of U.S. jurisdiction.

Where’s The Closest Place To Me To Bet?

If getting out of the house is your forte, you can drive to one of the two local casino sportsbooks. If you prefer convenience, online sports betting with an offshore operator is always an option. This can be accessed from your phone or computer anywhere you have an Internet connection. Those looking to take a weekend getaway can also take the trip down the coast to New Jersey sportsbooks or Pennsylvania sportsbooks and play in their casinos, most of which offer full single-game sports betting as well.

Lincoln Rhode Island Sportsbooks

Twin River Casino & Hotel Lincoln Sportsbook

Twin River’s Lincoln casino offers by far the larger of the company’s two Rhode Island sportsbooks. It features over 100 TVs, spacious seating, a full bar and dining area, and odds on all your favorite games. Players can also register at Twin River to bet online or on their phones.  

Tiverton Rhode Island Sportsbooks

Twin River Casino & Hotel Tiverton Sportsbook 

Twin River’s Tiverton casino is smaller than its Lincoln cousin, it is powered by the same William Hill technology as its twin. Also like the Lincoln casino, players can register at Tiverton to bet online or on their phones. While less convenient than international online sportsbooks, this is still a nice option for sports fans in Rhode Island. 

Rhode Island Sports Betting Sites

There are two sports betting locations in Rhode Island, both being Twin River Casinos, so we guess you could say they’re twinzies. There is one facility in Tiverton and one in Lincoln. Each of these casinos has linked up with William Hill to operate their sports betting venues. It’s through William Hill that Rhode Island has online sports betting platforms that can be accessed from a desktop computer or a mobile device. As of July 2020, sports betting law states that sports bettors in the state are no longer required to open online sports betting accounts through in-person registration. They can do everything from sign up to wagering from the comfort of their own home or wherever they may be with access to the internet and their cellphone.

William Hill Sportsbook

William Hill is the chosen sportsbook operator for Rhode Island and their two casino locations, subsequently making them the operator of the state’s internet platforms as well. The company is based out of London, England but has made quite a name for themselves in the United States and across the globe. They offer sports bettors the most reliable wagers and odds on events happening worldwide, making them one of the biggest names in sports betting to gamblers of the games on every continent.

Rhode Island Sports Betting Revenue

Rhode Island has faced questions about its economic modeling for sports betting since it launched with a colossal 51% state tax rate—the highest in the nation. So far, sports betting has proven to be successful, if not lucrative, in Rhode Island. Sports betting revenues have grown fairly consistently, with high peaks during the NFL regular season and playoffs. In 2019, Rhode Island sportsbooks collected $17.8 million in revenue even with a massive $900,000 loss in February because of the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory. All signs pointed to continued revenue growth in 2020 until the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.  Rhode Island started 2021 by setting the single-month wagering record at $38.9 million in January. Even with the retail sportsbooks being reopened, online and mobile betting accounted for more than half the betting handle as well as the revenue numbers. Rhode Island collected $3.7 million in revenue with $2.1 million coming from mobile sportsbooks. Rhode Island should continue to see growth moving forward.

Horse Racing Betting In Rhode Island

Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing was once the only state-sanctioned form of legal Rhode Island sports betting. Though originally not allowed by anti-gambling state statutes passed in 1896, horserace betting was made legal by voter referendum in 1934, and it wasn’t long afterward that Rhode Island’s first horse racing track, Narragansett Park, was open for business. Within 14 years, a second track, Lincoln Downs, opened, leading to a booming horse racing and breeding industry in the state. Unfortunately, all that came to an end in the 1970s, leading both failing tracks to eventually – many years later – convert into full-on casinos.

Daily Fantasy Sports In Rhode Island

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operators like DraftKings (based nearby in Boston, Massachusetts) and FanDuel are not restricted from Rhode Island players. The DFS industry has, since 2006, relied on language contained in the UIGEA to avoid classification as a “game of chance” and thus from gambling regulation, but that hasn’t stopped some states from declaring DFS to be the same as sports betting. Rhode Island, however, is one state that has lined up with the federal pronouncement, and in 2016, RI Attorney General Peter Kilmartin issued an opinion that DFS contests are indeed “games of skill,” at least in the view of the Ocean State.

Representative Raymond Gallison sponsored House Bill 7492 soon afterward, requiring DFS operators to become licensed through the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, but so far no DFS regulatory legislation has gotten farther than that. No effort to ban DFS has been undertaken either, although the Rhode Island lottery has advocated for it. At any rate, it will be up to voter referendum to decide the “legal” fate of DFS in Rhode Island, where roughly 170,000 residents currently play fantasy contests for money.

Legal Rhode Island Sports Betting FAQ’s

When Did Sports Betting Become Legal In Rhode Island?
Rhode Island legalized sports betting in 2018 immediately after the repeal of PASPA. However, it wasn’t until November 26, 2018, that Rhode Island began offering sports betting to the residents and visitors of the state. Their legalization came rather quickly after the PASPA repeal, as they were adamant on the fact that sports betting would help generate tax revenue for the state.
How Many Sportsbooks Are In Rhode Island?
Rhode Island currently boasts two sportsbooks. Both of the properties are licensed under the Twin River casinos and generate one of the highest percentages of tax revenue for the state. Twin River Casino, located in Lincoln, generates the heavy majority of the betting action for the state but the other sports betting outlet in Rhode Island, Tiverton Casino is more accessible for those on southern Massachusetts border near Fall River.
Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In Rhode Island?
You can bet real money on the outcome of sporting events in Rhode Island, but if you don’t do it at a licensed and reputable offshore sports betting website or at an in-state sportsbook then you will be in violation of state law. Though nobody has been prosecuted for placing bets, it’s a wise move not to tempt fate that way, as no amount of winnings is worth being behind bars on the off chance you find yourself before a judge. Fortunately, the aforementioned offshore sites offer utter financial and legal security for legal Rhode Island sports betting participants. They aren’t the only option for legal sports betting, but they are convenient, easy to use, and offer attractive betting options and bonuses.
Is Online Sports Betting Safe In Rhode Island?

Because the offshore sports betting websites like Bovada, 5Dimes, BetOnline, and SportsBetting are all regulated and licensed by their home countries, sports betting at these locations in RI is safe. These websites have been around for the better part of a generation, and they cater specifically to US bettors who had no options left to legally bet on sports after the various federal laws like PASPA and the UIGEA took effect. Bettors can also find safe options with the state-licensed mobile sportsbooks but will commonly find that certain teams of interest will not be offered at the books.

Will Sports Betting In Rhode Island Ever Be Legal?

It already is! That said, limiting sports wagering to the state’s two casino venues simply will not cut it going forward. Right now, the strategy in Rhode Island is to use on-site sports wagering exclusivity to drive traffic to the Twin River and Tiverton venues. However, after these are established and have plenty of daily and weekly regulars coming through their doors, online wagering will be opened up. This is a move to limit the early cannibalization of physical sports betting traffic. However, longer term, legal online sports betting helmed by domestic RI operators is basically a sure thing.

Will I Get Arrested For Sports Betting In Rhode Island?

Sports betting in Rhode Island is approved by state law. In the past, violators could have been sentenced to up five years in jail for repeat offenses. This went for organizers of sports gambling operations, namely bookmakers, of course; individual bettors never faced such risks, nor do they face them now. However, no arrests were ever been made in Rhode Island in connection with any kind of online gambling. Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about being arrested for wagering on sports. Legal Rhode Island sports betting is available at two in-state casinos and at reputable online gambling websites located overseas.

What Is the Sports Betting Age In Rhode Island?

The minimum age to participate in any kind of allowable gambling in Rhode Island is 18. This includes sports wagering, which makes RI somewhat unique. After all, that’s younger than in many other states, where bettors have to wait until they turn 21 before being legally allowed to wager on sports. This is especially good news for young Rhode Island residents interested in getting in on the sports betting action available at offshore gambling websites, as most all of them accept deposits from players 18 or older, in accordance with their own local laws in their home countries. So the rules are simple: No matter where you bet, if you’re 18, you can lay your money down!

Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available In Rhode Island?

All the top sports betting sites legal in Rhode Island have mobile versions and web-apps (i.e. browser-based app-like experiences) designed to work with both Android and iOS, and these are freely available. They offer virtually the same streamlined betting experiences as can be found on their desktop portals, but they have the added convenience of allowing users to place bets no matter where they are. Once Rhode Island regulates its own online betting market, you can expect official iPhone and Android apps you’ll be able to download through their respective app stores.

Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In Rhode Island?
The best place to go for legal Rhode Island sports betting is one of the two Twin Rivers casinos found only miles apart. But if you are looking for big bonuses and convenience, offshore legal sports betting websites like Bovada or BetOnline have completely filled that niche. These websites offer features even most Vegas casinos can’t match, including hefty sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of dollars and percentage-match free-plays for repeat deposits. Bets are available at these legal sports betting sites for sports across a wide spectrum, ranging from hockey to professional video game competitions (otherwise known as eSports).
Should I Use A Local Bookie In Rhode Island?
Rhode Island residents should never, under any circumstances, make use of the services of a local, unlicensed bookmaker. The Ocean State has a long legal tradition of opposing bookmaking inside state lines, as the law outlawing the practice goes all the way back to 1896. Be sure to stick with one of the two licensed sportsbooks in the casinos or gambling websites located outside the US. Even though land-based sports wagering is finally legal in RI, black-market bookies are still breaking the law to bring you a comparatively limited selection of lines with non-competitive odds. If you want to stay out of legal trouble and maximize your winning potential, use a legitimate Rhode Island casino sportsbook or offshore betting site.
Do Any Casinos In Rhode Island Have Sports Betting?
There are currently two casinos operating in Rhode Island, the Twin Rivers Casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton. They both are fairly new, having divested themselves of their former history as pari-mutuel betting centers. With their truly modern and quite spacious sportsbooks, you can lounge, drink, and gamble on sports with no problems. The casinos even offer promotions and member bonuses. Additionally, reputable and licensed foreign-operated gaming websites like Bovada, BetOnline, 5Dimes and SportsBetting are the best alternatives.
Is It Legal To Bet On Sports With My Friends In Rhode Island?
Betting on sports with your friends in Rhode Island is perfectly safe and legal, provided that none of your friends or acquaintances or any other party is actively positioned as a “bookmaker” or “house”. This means that a friendly wager between two private parties is perfectly on the up and up, but that if anyone provides a platform or service that allows them to take a house take, rake, or vigorish, then the transaction becomes unlawful. However, even then, the offending party is the individual acting as the house or book operator. Still, it is better to limit your private wagering in Rhode Island only to your close personal friends and acquaintances. If you wish to bet on sports in a longer-term moneymaking capacity, you’ll definitely want to use a state casino sportsbook or offshore bookmaking site.