Rhode Island legalized pari-mutuel horse race betting in 1934 and allowed daily fantasy sports (DFS) in 2016, but it wasn’t until 2018 that the state’s lawmakers passed sports betting legislation. In January of that year, S 2045 was introduced. The legislation aimed to allow the Rhode Island Lottery to operate sports betting in the state’s casinos.
While the legislation later stalling in a Senate committee, Governor Gina Raimondo had immediately included sports betting in her budget proposal. No lawmakers objected to the inclusion and so when the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was unconstitutional lifting the federal ban on sports betting, Rhode Island sports betting was off the mark.
Once the state legislature passed the Governor’s budget, sports betting was signed into law. Then, on November 26th 2018, Rhode Island’s casinos launched their sports betting products with the state lottery as the industry regulator. Soon after, SB 37 was introduced to allow for mobile sports betting. Governor Raimondo signed this bill into law in February 2019 and the state lottery partnered with William Hill to launch the state’s mobile sports betting services.
The state recently signed an agreement with gambling companies Bally’s and IGT that will see IGT continue to run the state lottery and Bally’s retain its monopoly on casino gaming for the next 20 years.
Who regulates the Rhode Island sports betting industry?
The Rhode Island sports betting market is regulated by the Rhode Island Lottery who oversees all wagering operations within the state.
Which legal sportsbooks are available in Rhode Island?
There are only two physical sportsbooks in the state. Both of these retail outlets are run by William Hill on an IGT platform and launched in November 2018.
Twin River Casino Lincoln — William Hill
The William Hill sportsbook at Twin River Casino Lincoln is a 3,600-square-foot location with over 100 HDTVs, and extensive seating area, betting tellers, betting kiosks, and a full bar and dining menu.
Twin River Casino Tiverton — William Hill
This is the smaller of Rhode Island’s retail sportsbooks and is located just a mile from the state border with Massachusetts. Set in the casino at the simulcast theater, the sportsbook is surrounded by a huge variety of gaming options including 32 gaming tables and over 1,000 video slots machines.
Sports betting apps in Rhode Island
There is only one legal mobile sports betting option available in Rhode Island — William Hill. The app runs on an IGT platform and is regulated by the Rhode Island Lottery.
Players can register remotely without having to visit one of the state’s retail sportsbook in person.
While you do not need to be a resident of Rhode Island to use the state-licensed app, you do need to be located within state lines to place a bet.
Daily Fantasy Sports in Rhode Island
According to a legal opinion released in 2016 by the Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, Daily Fantasy Sports are legal under state law. The decision was based on the fact that fantasy sports are a game that require skill with no large element of luck or chance involved.
This allowed DFS operators such as DraftKings, Yahoo!, Fantasy Draft, and FanDuel to offer their services within the state. However, the state has yet to pass legislation that will regulate the market.
What about online poker in Rhode Island?
With a population of just over a million people, potential tax revenues from legal online poker in Rhode Island would be so low that the state’s lawmakers have no interest in pursuing legislation that would establish a regulated market. Although other states with low populations have agreed traffic sharing compacts to increase revenue, there has been no indication that lawmakers have any interest in establishing such an agreement with neighboring states.
However, according to the state’s legal gambling code, the authorities have no genuine interest in targeting individual players who play online poker through international poker sites that operate within the state. The authorities are more concerned with prosecuting operators of illegal and unlicensed games.
Rhode Island sports betting frequently asked questions
What sports can you bet on in Rhode Island?
You can place bets on all major professional sports along with collegiate sports and Olympic events. However, you cannot place a bet on any college sports that involve in-state teams or athletes.
How old do you have to be to place bets at a Rhode Island sportsbook?
Gamblers in Rhode Island must be at least 18 years of age or older to place sports wagers.
Can I use a Rhode Island sports betting app when out of state?
No, you must be physically located in Rhode Island if you want to place bets using Rhode Island's only sports betting app.
How do I deposit money on Rhode Island's sports betting app?
You can make a deposit using one of the following methods — credit/debit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover), ACH e-check, online banking (powered by PayWithMyBank), PayPal, Caesars Prepaid Play+ Card, and PayNearMe.
How do I create an account for Rhode Island's sports betting app?
You simply need to register online through the app. You will need to provide a valid ID and social security number but there is no need to visit a retail sportsbook in person.
What happens to my Rhode Island sportsbetting account if my ID expires?
If your ID expires, you will be asked to provide a new, valid ID. You will not lose your account or the funds in it.
Can I download the Rhode Island sports betting app on both iOS and Android devices?
Yes, the William Hill RI app is available for both iOS and Android devices.