Located in the New England region of the Eastern part of the United States, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US (at 1,214 square miles). In terms of population, it is the seventh least populous state – with just over one million inhabitants according to the latest census figures.
In 1790, Rhode Island became the 13th state to be admitted into the Union. Officially known as the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, it is popular for its bountiful sandy beaches and rustic seaside towns and colonies.
Talking borders, Rhode Island is surrounded by Massachusetts to the East and North as well as Connecticut to the west. At its Southern end, the state borders the Atlantic Ocean. Providence is the state’s capital and, as well, its most populous city. A median household income of around $64,000 puts the state 16th in the entire U.S in that regard.
The physical topography of Rhode Island is marked by large bays and ocean inlets, which amount to about 1/6th of the state’s total area and gives it the very popular nickname, the “ocean state”.
Early History of Poker and Gambling in Rhode Island
The ocean state has never been at the forefront of legal gambling in the United States, however, it was one of the first states in the region to officially legalize sports betting – in 2018.
Historically, the state made its first move towards the legalization of gambling in 1934. That year, the state allowed a variety of bets to be cast on sports races. Rhode Island’s betting industry couldn’t run on horse racing alone and by the 1970s, the demise of the activity was imminent.
In response, Rhode Island’s legislature passed a new bill allowing the state lottery. Other referendums on the same bill introduced games like bingo and pull-tab lotteries.
In 2012, frustrated by the slow revenue stream supplied by smaller gambling activities, voters approved the establishment of full-scale casinos with a comprehensive assortment of available games. This resulted in the arrival of the Twin River Casino and the Newport Grand Casino.
By size, the Twin River Casino in Lincoln is the largest gambling establishment in the state, with more than 4,200 slot machines and 100 tables for table games.
Currently, however, the Twin River brand has something of a monopoly in Rhode Island, owning both of the only two casinos in the state (at Lincoln and Tiverton). The casinos offer slots, craps, blackjack, roulette, poker, baccarat, sports betting, off-track betting, and more.
In addition, both these casinos offer an assortment of in-person sports betting services to bettors from within Rhode Island and beyond.
Online Gambling in Rhode Island.
Presently, online gambling remains officially banned in the state. This means that constitutionally, betting websites and other online gambling platforms aren’t allowed to be domiciled in Rhode Island. Thus, consequentially, as of right now, there are no Rhode Island-based poker betting sites. However, the chatter of an interstate collaboration between Rhode Island and nearby Delaware hint at a partnership towards online poker, thus making the idea of legal online poker in Rhode Island a more conceivable possibility.
Mobile sports betting on the other hand, while highly regulated, is allowed in the state. In fact, it was the first virtual betting activity to gain legal status. In that regard, the state has only one online sportsbook, Sportsbook Rhode Island. The website is co-run by both the state and the Twin River casino brand and is accessible across both Android and iOS. While it isn’t necessary to be physically located in the state to register on the website, those looking to place real money wagers must be in Rhode Island. The website employs a geolocation feature to verify the location of bettors.
Alongside legal online betting, Rhode Island legislators are mulling the idea of an online lottery. Many proponents of this move hold that it would make the lottery more accessible across the state, further increasing revenue from ticket sales.
Positively, however, it seems that the final decision on legalizing online gambling in Rhode Island will be made via referendum, rather than a full-on constitutional amendment. Several precedents have, in the past, shown the power of these referendums especially in relation to gambling in the state. If support for the bill can successfully gain even approval across the local and municipal political divisions in the state, online gambling in the state may well be legalized sooner rather than later.
To summarize, Rhode Island recognizes legal land-based gambling, the lottery, and charitable gambling activities (such as bingo). In-person sports betting and mobile sports betting are also legal, while online gambling remains illegal. The state’s minimum gambling age is 18.
Some Available Options
While mobile sports betting is mostly covered, Rhode Islanders have had to look elsewhere for other online gambling services such as poker. As such, here are a few external websites that are great options for online poker:
- Bovada: This website offers 100% bonus up to $500, quick 3-4 day payouts, a wide variety of accepted deposit options such as bitcoin, wire transfer, Visa, and Mastercard).
- Intertops sports bet A pedigreed betting website, it offers a $600 first deposit bonus to customers depositing above $500.
- Ignition: This platform seeks to ignite your gambling flair with a 100% bonus on deposits up to $2000, quick payouts, steadily-updated odds, and versatile options for deposits: including cryptocurrency, direct deposit, and most debit and credit card providers.