Rhode Island Gambling Laws


Posted: April 13, 2016

Updated: April 13, 2016

In this overview we’ll examine the newest and most relevant developments in Rhode Island gambling laws. This state might not be the most gambler-friendly state, but their legislature recognizes all the financial benefits that casinos can offer.

Rhode Island gambling laws

The definition of gambling in Rhode Island gambling laws “includes, but is not limited to, pool-selling, bookmaking, maintaining slot-machines, roulette wheels or dice tables, and conducting lotteries, Policy, Bolita, or numbers games or selling chances in them.” The state law also specifies prohibited forms of gambling.

There are two casinos in Rhode Island: Twin River Casino and Newport Grand Casino. Rhode Island Gambling laws permit table games but only with the locals’ approval. That’s how Twin River Casino was allowed to offer casino-style table games like blackjack, roulette, craps, and poker. A referendum was held for Newport Grand Casino as well, however, locals rejected table games.

In 2015, Newport Casino was acquired by Twin River Casino. In order to keep the gambler’s money in the state, Virginia lawmakers passed a bill to allow for a new casino in Tiverton, that would replace Newport Grand. The new casino was planned by the Twin River Cassino management, after their proposals to expand Newport Grand Casino were rejected.

Other than casino gambling, Virginia gambling laws allow for pari-mutuel wagering and charitable gaming. Bingo can be conducted by any charitable organization that is approved by the relevant authorities.

Online Gambling in Rhode Island

Rhode Island gambling laws don’t specify the legality of online casino games. However, there are no licensed online casinos in Rhode Island. Furthermore, the fact that the laws don’t elaborate on this topic does not mean that it’s permitted to gamble over the internet. Most US gambling laws at state level can be easily applied to all forms of gambling.

Lotteries in Rhode Island

The state run lottery is extremely popular in Rhode Island. A great percentage of the Rhode Island Lottery’s proceeds go towards human services and education. Since the lottery’s establishment in 1973 it has contributed with more that USD 1,8 billion to state budget.

Rhode Island Lottery tickets cannot be purchased online. The lottery’s official website highlights that “current law prohibits such sales” so “tickets must be purchased at an authorized Rhode Island Lottery Retailer.”

Daily Fantasy Sports in Rhode Island

Daily fantasy sports in Rhode Island are legal. “It is the opinion of this office that Daily Fantasy Sports may currently operate legally in the State of Rhode Island,” put’s the official opinion of Rhode Island’s Attorney General, Peter Kilmartin. He also added that daily fantasy sports don’t constitute gambling or a lottery. Consequently, players can access all major providers of daily fantasy sports in Rhode Island. However, Kilmartin urged lawmakers to establish customer protection regulations.

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