Rhode Island became the eighth state to offer sports betting in 2018, months after the Supreme Court struck down PASPA. In early 2019, lawmakers expanded the existing betting provisions to include online and mobile betting. Rhode Island soon will have mobile sports betting. An online launch is expected by September or October 2019. Voters twice approved casino gambling in the state — once in 2012 and again in 2016. Those two referendums authorized the construction of two Class III casinos and sports betting. Rhode Island state legislators formally authorized sports betting via the state budget process in 2018. Due to this law, in Rhode Island sports betting is now legal. Sports betting is active at two casinos and will soon be expanding into the online realm.
Gambling Laws in Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island permits licensed horse racing, licensed dog racing in certain cities, and charitable or non-profit gaming (bingo, raffles, etc.) , something we discussed in greater detail on our dedicated Rhode Island gambling page. In addition, licensed betting of Jai alai in the city of Newport is permitted. The state has at least one Indian casino that features card games, slot machines, and other popular games for wagering. Governmental lotteries are allowed – government or state lotteries also are a form of gambling, but are governed under separate laws and operated by the state itself. Under current gambling laws, bookmaking and unlicensed horse races are illegal. In addition, online and mobile gambling is expected to be launched soon!
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Most Popular Sports in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has a number of semi-professional sports teams in various sports and leagues including the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Providence Bruins, the Providence Sky Chiefs, the Providence City FC, the Rhode Island Rebellion and the Rhode Island Reds FC. Rhode Island is also home to nationally ranked college teams, many of which make for friendly but passionate rivalries among alums! Rhode Island has no major league professional sports teams. Historically, the state has played an important part in the development of both yachting and tennis. Today it is home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Museum of Yachting is located in Newport as well. Furthermore, dog racing at Lincoln and jai alai at Newport are popular spectator sports with pari-mutuel betting. Other annual sporting events include the Tennis Hall of Fame Championships in Newport in july, the Annual Tuna Tournament near Galilee and Narragansett in september, the Rhode Island Marathon in Newport in november, and summer college baseball league play on Martha’s Vineyard.
National Basketball Association – The Providence Sky Chiefs
The Providence Sky Chiefs are part of an affiliation of the Premiere Basketball League. They are Rhode Island’s first professional basketball team in more than 3 decades. The team is the brain-child of team owner Giovanni Feroce, the CEO and Chairman of BENRUS LLC., a military-inspired lifestyle brand. The team takes inspiration for its name from the Sky Chief brand which is one of BENRUS’ iconic watches. Known for its accuracy, it was the official watch of pilots during WWII and commercial airlines in the 50s and 60s. The team is currently ranked #8 overall in the 76-team of the American Basketball Association (ABA) Regional Championship.
Minor League Baseball – The Pawtucket Red Sox
The Pawtucket Red Sox (known colloquially as the PawSox) are a professional minor league baseball team based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The team is a member of the International League and is the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The Pawtucket Red Sox played in and won the longest game in professional baseball history, a 33-inning affair against the Rochester Red Wings at McCoy Stadium. The game started on April 18, 1981. Play was suspended at 4:07 a.m. at the end of the 32nd inning. The game did not resume again until June 23 when the Red Wings returned to Pawtucket Red Sox. The team’s most recent championship win was in 2014. On August 17, 2018, the team announced that it will relocate to a new stadium in Worcester in April 2021. The stadium will be part of a $240 million redevelopment of Worcester’s Kelley Square and Canal District. The move would end the team’s history in Pawtucket after 51 seasons. The team has celebrated over 35 years in the gamenow!
American Hockey League –Providence Bruins
The Providence Bruins are an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL), and are the primary development team for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Bruins captured their first AHL Calder Cup in the 1999 playoffs, after a regular season in which they dominated the league with 56 regular season wins. The team went from only 19 victories the previous season, to dropping the Rochester Americans four games to being one to skate away with the league championship. Some notable Providence Bruins alumni who played more than 100 games in Providence and 100 or more games in the National Hockey League include Nick Boynton, Kevin Dallman, Aaron Downey, Peter Ferraro, Jonathan Girard, John Grahame and Andy Hilbert. They have won 1 Calder Cup which was in 1998.
National Premiere Soccer League –Providence City FC
Providence City FC is based in the city of Providence, also known as the “creative capital” of Rhode Island. They are locally known and referred to as ‘The Rogues’. The team currently competes in in the Rhode Island Amateur League USASL, the Bay State Soccer League (BSSL) & the Football Alliance (FA) League. In 2017 the team became BSSL D3S League Champions, won the 2017 BSSL McKenzie Cup Runner-Up, & FA 1 League Champions. They are also BSSL D2 Champions as well as 2018 FA 1 League cup winners. They are beloved in their local community for their social work and community involvement as the team focuses heavily on support of local business by helping local businesses grow through collaborations with them for jersey designs, franchise merchandise production and social events.
History of Sports Betting in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has a long and complicated history with sports betting. In 1896, the General Laws explicitly outlaw bookmaking and sports betting in Rhode Island. In 1934, local voters approved a measure to legalize pari-mutuel betting on horses and greyhounds. In 1973, voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 4 by a 61% to 38% margin, authorizing the creation of the Rhode Island Lottery and shortly after in 1974, lawmakers quickly pass the legislation required to officially create, launch, and regulate the Rhode Island Lottery. In 1983, General Laws allows bingo to be played, for prizes totaling less than $400, at any senior citizen living facility. In 1988, The Rhode Island Lottery joined up with the Multi-State Lottery Association as a charter member, bringing major national games like Powerball and Mega Millions to the state for the first time. In 1991, General Assembly voteed to authorize video lottery terminals (VLTs), which closely resemble slot machines in terms of appearance and game play, within the state’s two pari-mutuel betting facilities. In 1993, the state’s original General Law on gambling was amended to allow local jurisdictions within Rhode Island to run their own lottery programs. Much later in 2012, voters pass and authorize state-operated casino gaming and in 2012 In December, the state’s first poker room – a 16-table facility at Twin River Casino was opened to the public. In 2016, voters called for the construction of a new casino in Tiverton
|1896||Rhode Island General Laws explicitly outlaws bookmaking and sports betting|
|1934||Rhode Island voters approve a measure to legalize pari-mutuel betting on horses and greyhounds|
|1973||Voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 4 authorizing the creation of the Rhode Island Lottery and shortly after in 1974, lawmakers quickly pass the legislation required to officially create, launch, and regulate the Rhode Island Lottery|
|1983||General Laws allows bingo to be played, for prizes totaling less than $400, at any senior citizen living facility.|
|1988||The Rhode Island Lottery joins up with the Multi-State Lottery Association as a charter member, bringing major national games like Powerball and Mega Millions to the state for the first time|
|1991||General Assembly votes to authorize video lottery terminals (VLTs), which closely resemble slot machines in terms of appearance and game play, within the state’s two pari-mutuel betting facilities|
|1993||The state’s original General Law on gambling is amended to allow local jurisdictions within Rhode Island to run their own lottery programs|
|2012||Voters pass and authorize state-operated casino gaming|
|2016||Voters call for the construction of a new casino in Tiverton|
Legal Online Sports Betting Age in Rhode Island
The state imposes a minimum gambling age requirement of 18 years of age.
Sports Betting Age
Is Online Sports Betting Legal Outside of the State?
Since there are no provisions within Rhode Island state gambling laws or US federal sports betting laws that prohibit residents from betting on sports online through legally sanctioned offshore sportsbooks, we’d have to say that yes, online sports betting at offshore sportsbooks is a legal form of betting entertainment for individuals in the state. Take a look at what the neighboring states have in stock, such as with Connecticut Sports Betting.
Taxes on Your Winnings: Do You Have to Pay Anything?
A flat tax rate of 30% upon gambling winnings is enacted.
Upcoming Regulation Changes in Rhode-island Betting Law
A standalone sports betting bill (S 2045) for Rhode Island appeared in January 2018, sponsored by a handful of senators. The bill moved to allow the Rhode Island Lottery to operate sports betting at the two Twin River casinos. If this proposed bill is passed, then wagering on collegiate sports would be allowed, excluding those involving Rhode Island teams or games. In the case of online sports betting, the original law included only in-person betting at the Twin River casinos, but the legislature has since passed an expansion to allow statewide mobile betting. This bill was signed into law in March 2019 and the online launch is pending. Lastly, Gov. Gina Raimondo has already allocated revenue from sports betting in her budget proposal, so we know the state is counting on tax revenue and so we hope to see full-fledged sports betting coming to Rhode Island very soon!