Legal sports betting in Rhode Island came to pass in June 2018. Online legal sports betting in Rhode Island happened less than a year later in March 2019. The Ocean State is the smallest in the U.S. and there is only one online sportsbook available and two retail sportsbooks located at land-based casinos. In the beginning players had to register for an online or mobile account in person, but as of 2020 they can set up an account online.
This guide will show you all the key facts about legal sports betting in Rhode Island. You will learn about tax and legal issues, the available online sportsbook, the future of online gambling in the state, a timeline of events and answers to frequently asked questions. It will also show you how to get started betting on sports online.
All legal sports betting options in Rhode Island
The legal situation on Rhode Island sports betting
In June 2018 Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed the state budget for 2019, which included the legalization of sports betting. After a retail-only launch of sports betting in 2018 Rhode Island lawmakers passed bill SB37, which legalized online sports betting in March 2019. Online sports betting launched in September 2019. The state only has one online sportsbook and two retail sportsbooks.
The Rhode Island Lottery oversees the sports betting in the state and also runs the lone online sportsbook, which is powered by William Hill and is on an IGT platform. The state, two casinos, and IGT share the tax revenue from sports betting.
Rhode Island is one of the few states where you can bet on sports at the age of 18, where in most states the legal gambling age is 21. The Ocean State was the eighth one to legalize sports betting.
🛑 What you can’t bet on from online sportsbooks in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island there is a restriction on betting on in-state college teams or any college games that are held in the state. ESports is not technically illegal but the lone online sportsbook and two retail sportsbooks do not have eSports betting.
Here are the restrictions on what you cannot bet on in Rhode Island:
- Entertainment bets such as for the Emmys and Oscars
- Political bets such as the U.S. presidential election
- Any bet with a college team that is located in Rhode Island
- Any college game held in Rhode Island
- While not restricted there are no odds for eSports at the lone Rhode Island online sportsbook or retail sportsbooks.
🟢 What you can bet on from online sportsbooks in Rhode Island
- NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Baseball (no in-state college teams)
- Major Domestic Leagues, including NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, MMA, UFC, etc.
- Major International Leagues, including England Premier League, Italy Serie A, Spain La Liga, etc.
- Major sports events, including NBA playoffs and finals, Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, The Masters, Olympics, etc.
- Most betting types, including spreads, moneylines, totals (over/under), parlays, futures, proposition bets (no college props), and live bets
What is the tax situation in Rhode Island
The sports betting tax in Rhode Island is 51% of gross revenue. Rhode Island is tied with New Hampshire for the highest sports betting tax but the lone online sportsbook is run by the state overseen by the Rhode Island Lottery. Since launching the state has taken in nearly $50 million in taxes from sports betting. The taxes are shared with the state, the two casinos, and IGT, who helps work with the state to oversee the sports betting industry. The breakdown of the taxes are:
- State 51%
- IGT 32%
- Casinos 17%
The 51% of the tax funds from sports betting go into the state’s general fund and then used for education and transportation projects. Rhode Island Senate president Dominich J. Ruggerio stated, “Sports wagering provides the state with a revenue stream that supports critical priorities, such as investing in roads and schools, without increasing the tax burden on citizens. Legal sports wagering in Rhode Island will provide revenue for critical state services while offering a new entertainment option for Rhode Islanders.”
All the available sportsbooks in Rhode Island
- Sportsbook Rhode Island (www.sportsbetri.com)
Forecasts about the future of online gambling in Rhode Island
While the future is pretty bright for sports betting in Rhode Island there are some issues. First of all, there is only one online legal sportsbook and the state runs it and they do not want competition, so new online sportsbooks will not likely happen anytime in the near future. On top of that, the higher tax rate on sports betting has been a contentious issue as well. According to American Gaming Association spokesman Sara Slane, “High tax rates hinder the legal market’s ability to compete with shady, illegal operators that don’t pay taxes back to the state.”
The casinos have also had an issue, as they only receive 17% of the tax money from sports betting. Because of this they may not spend money on promotions to bring in new players. Chris Grove, who is a senior analyst for PlayUSA.com, stated, “The relatively small share allotted for casinos means those casinos have little incentive to market the product, which will dampen revenue potential.”
However, retail and online sports betting has been popular in the Ocean State and you can see that from the $1.2 billion in bets being taken in since launching.
The two retail sportsbooks, which are both in casinos, in Rhode Island are:
- Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Sportsbook
- Bally’s Tiverton Sportsbook
Timeline of main events in Rhode Island
- July 2020 – In-person registration for online sportsbook account ends
- September 2019 – Online sports betting launches
- March – Online sports betting legalized
- June 2018 – Retail sports betting legalized
- May 2018 – The Supreme Court overturns Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made sports betting legal on a state-by-state basis
- 2016 – Daily Fantasy Sports legalized
How do I start betting online in Rhode Island
It is a very quick and easy process to start betting online in Rhode Island. Considering there is only one online sportsbook in the state that is the one you need to use to legally bet on sports online in the Ocean State. You will have to register for an account and after that the sportsbook will have to verify your identification. To do that you will have to give them information such as you:
- Full name
- Social Security Number
- Personal verification information
Once the ID verification process is complete the sportsbook will send you a confirmation email. Then you are good to go and you can start betting on your favorite sports.
The Rhode Island Lottery regulates all sports betting in the state.
Yes. While the odds will not be exactly the same as sportsbooks from other states they will be very similar.
One of the main differences is that Rhode Island only has one online sportsbook. Other states have more but in Rhode Island the state runs the online sportsbook, so they are now allowing other books to be offered.
Yes. Sports betting was legalized in the Ocean State when Gov Gina Raimondo signed the state budget for 2019
You must be 18 years old to wager on sports in Rhode Island.
In Rhode Island the only online sportsbook currently available is Sportsbook Rhode Island.
No. While you do not need to be a resident of Rhode Island to bet at the one online sportsbook you must be within the state borders in order to make bets.
Yes. You cannot wager at the one Rhode Island sportsbook out of the state but you can access it and do things such as deposit and withdraw money from your account, contact customer service, and check odds.