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.
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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
If you’re 18 years or older, you can play bingo in the following Rhode Island cities:
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.
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.