Rhode Island Gambling

FAQ / Q&A -- History -- Regulation -- Land Based Casinos -- Fun Facts


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Rhode Island Online Casinos


Regulation and legality of online gambling

The Ocean State has no laws pertaining specifically to online gambling. The original laws that cover lottery, horse racing and the like include no mention of the internet, or terms such as ‘online’ and ‘electronic device’. There are no existing amendments to the constitution that would expand on the gambling laws enough to include placing wagers over a person’s computer, smartphone or tablet. The UIGEA rules this area in RI for the time being.

There have been rumors about Rhode Island possibly joining agreements to share player pools like the ones signed between Delaware and Nevada. That is seen as a suggestion that online gambling regulation could be in the works soon.

Online gambling is not legal in Rhode Island. This comes off a big surprise, given the fact that RI has a reputation of being very liberal towards gambling. Even in 2020, this is a common situation in many states. Legislators are simply not that ‘fast’ when it comes to adopting new standards when it comes to games of chance and whatnot.

Like in many other regions of the US, Rhode Island doesn’t explicitly ban gambling over the internet. Believe it or not, no part of the state’s General Laws mentions online casinos explicitly. Instead, Section 11-19-1 defines ‘prohibited forms of gambling’ as any form of wagering, betting, or risking money that’s not officially authorities by the state of Rhode Island.

Illegal gambling is considered a felony in RI and yields a fine of no more than $2,000, along with a proposed jail sentence of no more than two years. Even though this might seem like a serious set of repercussions for playing at Rhode Island online casinos, the reality is completely different. As far as we and many industry experts were able to find out, nobody has ever been arrested or prosecuted for online gambling in RI.

This is somewhat of a strange situation, as there are legal scholars that believe Section 11-19-1 isn’t all-encompassing due to the very vague description of prohibited activities. Regardless, you can rest assured - nobody will come after you for playing a bit of roulette and blackjack.

Now that safety concerns are out of the way, where can you play casino games if the state doesn’t authorize any form of online gambling? The answer is offshore sites. You will see many blogs and writers call them unsafe or hotspots for fraud, but this is an outdated view of the industry.

Offshore online casinos are nothing more than sites based and licensed outside of the US. You can basically play at any casino that allows players from RI to create accounts and make deposits. Of course, you should always check the site’s license and track record. Nowadays, almost every country has a gaming regulatory body, so frauds are almost nonexistent.

Currently, Rhode Island offers online sports betting services to its citizens. They were actually the first state to hold hearings after the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed in 2018. As for online casinos, there’s no telling when the smallest of the 50 states will take the plunge.

It is, however, widely believed that changes will take place soon, as Rhode Island lawmakers have a reputation of making amendments to the existing legislature at a lightning-fast pace. They previously scrapped in-person registration requirements for sports betting, so it’s possible that online casinos will become a reality sometime soon.



Gambling history in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest of all the US states by land area, but that does not mean it doesn’t have any history with gambling. The industry would keep up with the neighbor states most of the time, and today the Ocean State has its own commercial casinos. The hopes of any Rhode Island visitors reading this shouldn’t get too high, though, because the options are limited when compared to Connecticut, for example, where there are massive gambling resorts.

Rhode Island offers a modest selection of gaming options, which began appearing in the legalized gambling domain back in 1934. That was when the state legalized pari-mutuel betting on horse races. In the following decades, Rhode Islanders enjoyed betting on the ponies at the state’s two racetracks Narragansett Park and Lincoln Downs. The two venues served the public’s wagering needs until the 1970s. They eventually closed down and the horseracing gambling industry passed the baton over to the state lottery.

The area hosted a thriving lottery industry, even before legalization stepped in. It is known that early colonial development of Rhode Island was funded by lotteries supervised by community organizations, even the Masonic lodge. The state constitution from 1843 prohibited lottery and other forms of gambling, and lottery was brought back in 1973 through the help of voters. Pull-tab scratch card lotto games and bingo for senior citizens were added in the 1980s.

A gambling craze ensued in the 1990s. In those years, video lottery terminals were introduced and Rhode Island became home to racino venues such as the Twin River Casino. The voters opposed off-track betting on races held outside the state, but VLT machines were acceptable. The modern age of Rhode Island gambling began in 2012 when table games were allowed. Rhode Island cast aside its aversion towards commercial gambling, embraced gambling tax-related revenue and became a state where gamblers can feel comfortable in.


Land based casinos

It is easy to single out the top brick and mortar casinos in Rhode Island. There are only two venues on the state’s 1,214 square miles, so they are the best casinos you can hope for as a Rhode Islander. The Twin River Casino launched in 2012. The Lincoln Downs racetrack was converted into Twin River Casino. For a short period of time, Twin River had a rival - the Newport Grand Casino. The Twin River Management Group bought Newport Grand in 2015 and now owns and operates both casinos in the Ocean State. The rebranded second casino in Rhode Island is named Twin River Tiverton Casino and Hotel.

The Twin River Casino is bigger, and it’s located in Lincoln. At first it only offered slots, video poker, and electronic table games. Then it introduced live table games: poker, craps, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, Spanish 21, Let it Ride, Pai Gow Poker, Three Card Poker, and Big 6 Money Wheel. The casino is open 24/7 and the games are scattered across a 162,000 square-foot floor. There are around 4,200 machines and over 110 gaming tables. Twin River offers amenities such as a hotel, several restaurants and bars, two retail outlets and an event center that hosts concerts and similar entertainment events.

The Tiverton Casino and Hotel covers 85,000 square feet. The casino lobby occupies 33,600 square feet. The venue includes both smoking and non-smoking sections, around a thousand video slot machines and over 30 live gaming tables. At Tiverton, patrons can play blackjack, baccarat, craps, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker, Roulette, Spanish 21 and Three Card Poker. The gambling facilities are accompanied by restaurants, parking space, retail outlets, live entertainment and a 3-story hotel.

There are no Native American land-based casinos in RI.

Neighbouring States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York (water border)



What’s the minimum age at which you can play at Rhode Island online casinos?

Believe it or not, Rhode Island is one of the only states to have a threshold of 18 years for all forms of gambling. Even though playing at online casinos isn’t explicitly covered by any existing legislation, you should still play it safe and partake in gambling activities only if you’re 18 or older.

Which games are available at casino sites in Rhode Island?

Offshore sites come in all shapes and sizes, which basically means that you can play any game that you think of. Of course, some classic and currently popular titles can be found everywhere, while there are sites that specialize in niche and less-coveted titles. Everything is available, basically.

Does this include live casino games, too?

Certainly. Live casino titles are very popular in Rhode Island, as the state only has two land-based gambling venues. As such, players want to get that Vegas feel without having to drive over long distances or cross state borders. Almost every offshore casino has a dedicated live casino section, so your needs will be effectively covered.

What about payment methods? How can you fund your account at a Rhode Island online casino?

Casino sites available to Rhode Islanders offer pretty much the same payment options as you might encounter in other US states. For over 15 years now, credit and debit cards reign supreme. As you only have to input a few numbers, people love this easy method of making deposits. However, this popularity has dwindled down a bit due to safety concerns.

Younger players have taken a liking to cryptocurrencies and eWallets, due to the ability to make secure transactions and do so in a quick manner. eChecks and wire transfers are still available, but barely anyone uses them nowadays.

Do these sites pay withdrawals quickly?

Yes. The length of your waiting time depends mostly on the payment method that’s being used. With that being said, here’s what you can expect depending on the platform you’re using:

● Cryptocurrencies: 15-60 minutes

● eCheck: 5-7 days

● eWallets: Instant

● Wire transfers: 4-6 days

● Bank cards: 3-5 days

Fun Facts about Rhode Island

  • In the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (the state’s full name), you can have coffee milk. It is the state’s official beverage and both adults and children enjoy it.
  • Samuel Slater built the first water-powered cotton mill in Pawtucket, RI in 1790. This is considered the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the beginning of the American textile industry and factory system in general. Samuel Slater also first thought of the industrial organization system that is based on recruiting entire families to live and work at the factories.

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