The day after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on May 14, 2018, Rhode Island Senate committees met to discuss legalizing sports betting within its borders.
Now, the smallest state in the union will be one of the biggest movers in terms of capitalizing on this burgeoning market by getting in on the ground floor. The state passed sports betting legislation on June 22, 2018, allowing for the state to accept real-money sports bets by the end of the year. The first legal bet was placed at Twin River Casino in Lincoln on Nov. 26.
Rhode Island sports betting status
Unlike the plan in New Jersey and other states, the legislation in Rhode Island ONLY allows sports betting in person at casinos. Adding legislation to sanction online gambling in Rhode Island is a potential outcome down the line.
Legislation was drafted prior to the SCOTUS decision on May 14 and the Rhode Island State Lottery began hedging its bets by looking to secure contracts with casino operators as early as April 2018. The activity finally paid off on Nov. 26, 2018, when Twin River became the first sports betting location in Rhode Island.
Unfortunately, delays caused Rhode Island to miss the majority of this year’s football season, and thus, sports betting’s most active season. Gov. Gina Raimondo’s budget, which anticipated $23.5 million in tax revenue from roughly $900 million in wagers, will now drop to around 50 percent of that figure, according to Legal Sports Report.
Rhode Island sportsbooks and casinos
There are only two casinos in the state of Rhode Island – Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Tiverton Casino Hotel in Tiverton. Both casinos are owned by Twin River Holdings and work intensively with software company IGT and sportsbook operator William Hill as strategic partners.
The only active sportsbook in Rhode Island is the temporary facility at Twin River Casino. At Sportsbook Rhode Island, customers use self-service betting terminals to place their wagers. There is an odds display board and several wall-mounted and countertop televisions available for viewing in the temporary location.
The permanent facility is slated to open in a few weeks. The 3600 square-foot lounge will have the capacity for 200 patrons and will feature roughly 100 televisions screens to monitor the progress of events.
Tiverton Casino Hotel will open a sports betting facility in the near future. However, this facility will likely be little more than betting kiosks when it opens. At this point, the attention is on the larger venue in Lincoln.
Sports Betting FAQ
When will sports betting be legal in Rhode Island?
Sports betting is now legal and active in Rhode Island. Twin River Casino in Lincoln began accepting wagers on sports on Nov. 26, 2018.
Where can I place sports bets in Rhode Island?
Bettors may wager at Twin River Casino and at Tiverton Casino Hotel.
How old do I have to be to bet in Rhode Island?
Patrons must be at least 18 years old to enter Twin River Casinos and place live bets on sporting events.
Can I bet on my mobile device?
Mobile betting is not authorized as part of the legislation passed in 2018.
Who will oversee Rhode Island sports betting?
The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation will oversee the operations run by the Rhode Island Lottery Commission and the individual casinos.
Can I get into trouble for placing bets with unregulated online sportsbooks in Rhode Island?
Federal law states that unregulated sports books are illegal and anyone placing or accepting bets through such practices in the United States are subject to prosecution. However, there has yet to be a known instance of such a crime being carried out in a court.