As one of the smallest states in America, Rhode Island does not have a ton to offer in the realm of casinos and legal gambling. Currently, the state is home to only two casinos; Twin River and Newport Grand Slots. The casinos that are located here mostly started out as racing tracks. Rhode Island was once a popular destination for greyhound racing. Until very recently, all casinos in Rhode Island were only able to offer slots, but in 2013 the Twin River Casino expanded its offerings to include table games. This was made possible by a referendum that was approved by voters on the local level.
Rhode Island is certainly not the most popular gambling destination in the United States, but the approval of table games at Twin River certainly added to its notoriety. As of 2016, Newport Grand Slots is still not able to offer table games, so if you are looking to play games like blackjack, three card poker, let it ride, etc. you will have to visit Twin River. Due to the underwhelming offering of legalized gambling here, it can be a good place to stop if you happen to pass by on a road trip, but otherwise, you are probably better off visiting more popular gambling destinations.
Rhode Island Online Casinos
Rhode Island gambling laws are unique when it comes to handling unlawful gambling, as the act of participating in an unregulated game isn’t considered an offense. Instead, the law punishes people who “frequent a gambling place.” The important part is the fact that the legal definition of a “gambling place” does not apply to offshore iGaming sites, as the area in question has to be physically located within the borders of Rhode Island in order to meet the necessary criteria.
Consequently, Rhode Island residents and visitors are free to play on any offshore sites they want without having to worry about prosecution. The approach you should assume when picking your first online gambling site should be determined by the form of gambling that you’re interested in. For example, if you’re looking for a poker network, the most important thing is to focus on finding the largest player pool, as the amount of active players essentially determines the size of the tournament prizes and the availability and flow of cash games.
If you’re interested in sports betting, you shouldn’t really pay attention to traffic statistics even though good sites are usually very popular. Instead, you should focus on comparing the prices and live/pre-match betting options available with different sites and settle for the one that suits your needs. Finally, if you’d like to try some online casino action, you should search for sites that offer the best bonuses while simultaneously offering a good selection of games that you might enjoy.
Rhode Island Casino Reviews
Gambling in Rhode Island
Rhode Island regulations are somewhat restrictive when it comes to land-based gambling. Regulated casino games such as keno, slots, video poker and blackjack are available exclusively via VLTs at the two designated pari-mutuel facilities.
Pari-mutuel betting and charity gambling events are allowed and the state operates its own lottery. Rhode Island doesn’t have a regulated intrastate internet gambling market, so local iGaming enthusiasts simply play their favorite games using offshore iGaming platforms.
Casinos in Rhode Island
Casino gaming is legal in Rhode Island, although America’s smallest state (by land mass) has a relatively small appetite for its number of casinos, if not their size. Only two casinos are allowed to call Rhode Island home, with the newest having just opened at the end of August 2018.
The two commercial casinos operating with Class III licenses in Rhode Island are:
- Twin River Casino Hotel (Lincoln): 190,000 square feet of gaming space, 4,200 slot machines, 119 table games including blackjack, craps, roulette, three card poker, and pai gow, and a 22-table no limit poker room
- Tiverton Casino Hotel (Tiverton): 33,600 square feet of gaming space, 1,000 slot machines, and 32 tables games that include blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, three card poker, and pai gow
Both establishments are owned by Twin River Management Group, with the new Tiverton Casino replacing the old Newport Grand Casino. Twin River transferred its license from Newport to Tiverton with the idea of taking advantage of its proximity to Massachusetts, where an estimated 50% of Rhode Island gamblers visit from.
There are no tribal casinos in Rhode Island. A lengthy court battle took place between the state and the Narragansett Tribe, who intended to build a casino of 31 acres of land in trust. The state ultimately prevailed.
You must be at least 18 to play at Rhode Island casinos.
There are no online casinos in the state.
The first is the slots-only type of casino, like that found in Newport Grand Slots. This casino offers slots and electronic games like video poker, electronic blackjack, and keno. It does not offer live-dealer blackjack or any other table game variations. This can be a let-down for gamblers who are used to visiting places like Atlantic City, Vegas or Reno which offer blackjack, dice games and other variations of gambling that require a table/dealer.
Full Gaming Casinos
The second type of casino (and most popular) that you’ll find in Rhode Island are those that offer both table games and electronic games. There is only one casino in the state which offers this style of gaming, and that is Twin River located in the town of Lincoln. At Twin River you’ll find all of the most popular table games like blackjack, Paigow, Craps, Roulette, Three Card Poker, Let it Ride and more.
One disappointing aspect that is missing from each of the casinos located in Rhode Island is that they do not offer any resort features. This means when visiting a casino here, you will need to find a hotel room somewhere off the casino’s premises. Some local hotels do offer exclusive packages for casino goers, but this does not compare to the service provided by many of the large casino resorts. This means you cannot get any comped rooms when visiting casinos here. This means that many casino patrons still choose to make the trip to casinos in nearby states like Connecticut which offer resorts.
Rhode Island Sportsbooks & Sports betting
When the Supreme Court made ruled in favor of state-level sports betting regulation, Rhode Island was one of the first states to strike. When lawmakers approved the state budget in June, they included provisions for sports betting, and in August, they signed a deal with IGT to run the tech and another with William Hill to run the sportsbooks at its two casinos.
In-person betting was slated to launch in late November 2018, with a mobile app expected to come online in late spring, 2019. However, the app will only be accessible on casino property.
Fantasy sports gambling
No daily fantasy sports laws have been passed, largely because in 2016, Rhode Island attorney general Peter Kilmartin answered the question of its legality:
“It is the opinion of this office that daily fantasy sports may currently operate legally in the state of Rhode Island. Applying the ‘dominant factor’ standard, I do not believe that daily fantasy sports constitute a ‘game of chance’ and therefore daily fantasy sports games do not constitute a lottery under Rhode Island law.”
The AG recommended regulation as a means of keeping youth from playing and criminals from getting involved, but so far, the legislature has authored no new bills.
Horse racing never became illegal in Rhode Island, but the once-highly-profitable racecourses of New England have all but died out. Rhode Island’s former tracks have all closed down. Lincoln Downs, which opened in 1947, is now the site for the Twin River Casino.
As with sports betting, off-track betting on simulcast races is only available at the state’s two casinos. Both the racebook at Twin River Casino and the one at Tiverton are open six days a week (closed on Tuesdays).
In 2010, then-governor Donald Carcieri signed a bill to outlaw greyhound racing. The Twin River greyhound track was hemorrhaging money, but in order to host slot machines, it was required by law to host 125 days of live racing. The bill signed in 2010 helped Twin Rivers get out from under that obligation, saving the casino but marking the end of greyhound racing in the state.
You can, however, wager on greyhound races at the state’s two racebooks.
You must be at least 18 years old to place a wager at a Rhode Island racebook.
There is one poker room in the entire state of Rhode Island – the 22-table room at Twin River Casino. It offers two poker variations – seven-card stud and Texas hold’em – in the smoke-free second floor of the casino.
Both poker variations are played as limit or no-limit games.
You must be at least 18 to play.
Home poker games are expressly forbidden by law, with Section 11-19-20 of the criminal code reading:
“Every person who shall, on any pretext whatsoever, invite, entice, persuade, or induce any other person to visit any house, room, or other place kept for the purpose of gambling…shall be fined not less than $500 and be imprisoned one year.”
Online poker is also illegal.
The Rhode Island Lottery has been around since 1974 and is a charter member of the Multi-State Lottery Association. Along with pull-tabs, scratch-off tickets, and video lottery terminals, the Rhode Island Lottery offers the following draw games:
- The Numbers Game
- Wild Money
- Lucky for Life (multi-state)
- Mega Millions (multi-state)
- Powerball (multi-state)
All prizes must be claimed within one year. You must be at least 18 to play.
Like many other states, Rhode Island allows qualified non-profit organizations to obtain a charitable gaming license for the purpose of hosting fundraising bingo games.
Charitable bingo games must adhere to the following regulations:
- The total amount of deducted expenses may not exceed 25% of gross receipts
- All net proceeds must go to the organization’s charitable needs
- Bingo games cannot be hosted more than twice a week
- Prize money awarded in any one night may not exceed $7,500
If you’re 18 years or older, you can play bingo in the following Rhode Island cities:
- East Providence
- West Warwick
History of Rhode Island Casinos
Though you might not expect it based on the size of Rhode Island, it was actually somewhat of a pioneer in regards to live lottery drawings. It started this precedent back in the 1970s, making it one of the first states to provide a consistent lottery drawing via television broadcast. Unfortunately for you, if you’re reading this page looking for casinos, Rhode Island was certainly not a pioneer in casinos and legal gambling and it only recently started to offer legalized class III gaming.
Rhode Island had long been host to several successful greyhound and thoroughbred racing tracks. During the 1990s however, RI casinos began to start losing much of their business to nearby states like Connecticut, which were starting to open large resort-style casinos. This led to Rhode Island enabling slots, virtual blackjack and video lottery terminals at the racetracks.
In 2003, two of Lincoln Park’s top executives were indicted for allegedly participating in a scheme to pay off a Rhode Island House Speaker. They apparently did so in an effort to gain support for expanding the park’s casino and to also block a new proposed casino in the area. This led to the Lincoln Park being sold to new owners in 2005, and eventually changing it’s name to “Twin River” casino. It wasn’t until 2013 that table games began to be offered here.
Today both casinos in Rhode Island are owned by the same company; Twin River Management Group. The sale of Newport Grand Slots was completed fairly recently in July of 2015. This would lead me to believe that at some point in the future both Twin River and Newport Grand will be able to offer table games and other forms of class III gaming, which as of now is not available at the company’s Newport facility. In 2013, a proposal was introduced to voters that was similar to the referendum in Lincoln. It was denied in Newport, but will likely be re-introduced to voters and it seems that Twin River Management is banking on it being approved at some point.
As we briefly touched on above, prior to 2013 Rhode Island’s casinos merely offered slot machines and electronic games with no other options. The slot machines here were of the video lottery terminal variety, meaning they do not utilize a randomly generated number system. In 2013 a referendum was passed by local voters, enabling a variety of table games to be added to one of the state’s most popular casinos; Twin River. This means that today there are two different types of casinos in Rhode Island with only two casinos in total.
Gambling Rules in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island the age to gamble is generally only 18 years old. This makes it a nice option for the younger gambling enthusiast. You must obviously be 21 years old to consume alcohol in a casino or anywhere else. You can usually get comped drinks at casinos here if you are actively playing games.
Rhode Island Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
Your first step should be to create a gambling account with the site that you’ve picked. Once you’re done, you should transfer some money to the site in order to fund it. Please note that your account will undergo a once-in-a-lifetime verification procedure, which simply can’t be skipped due to the fact that it protects the site from scammers and underage gamblers.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
A withdrawal request can be placed via the cashier menu whenever you deem necessary. All requests of this kind are processed within less than 2 days, but the entire transaction usually takes up to 2 weeks since the default payment method for most offshore sites is the standard bank wire transfer.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Rhode Island?
Most offshore sites require Rhode Island residents to be at least 18 years old when they register for an online gambling account.
How do I open an account?
The first step is to provide the site that you’d like to join with some basic personal information via the registration form. Once your account has been properly set up, you need to pass a basic identity check, which allows you to play real money games.
Where can I open my account from?
If you’re a Rhode Island resident you can sign up for a gambling account from any US state.
From where can I access Rhode Island online gambling sites?
Most offshore sites don’t block any US states, which means that you should be able to enjoy your favorite games even when you travel to another state. You just have to keep in mind that gambling regulations differ from state to state. Currently, only Washington and Utah have strict anti-iGaming regulations.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Rhode Island?
All the relevant terms and regulations are listed in Section 11 of Rhode Island General Laws.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
The most common deposit method is to simply go for a credit card payment. Most sites support only Visa and MasterCard, as American Express cards tend to be extremely unreliable for online gambling purposes.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
Most sites support only two cash out methods: wire transfer and check by courier.
Is my money safe?
Your money should be as safe as in a bank if you stick with the sites we’ve listed. If you want to try something new, you should definitely research the site in question before you actually commit your money. Good research is very likely to protect you from most scam attempts.
What body regulates gambling in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island doesn’t have a large regulated gambling industry, but it has three separate entities overseeing it: Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, Rhode Island Lottery Commission, and Rhode Island Secretary of State, Sweepstakes Registration.