Sports betting has come to the forefront recently in mainstream America – even more so after the Supreme Court overruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018. The act was in place since 1992, and previously limited the scope of legal sports betting within the United States. With PASPA overturned, the floodgates have opened up for states to establish and regulate sports betting within their jurisdiction.
While some of the larger states that have been synonymous with casino gambling (like New Jersey and Pennsylvania) have been getting most of the attention, Rhode Island is one that has been flying under the radar. However, they seem to be one of only a handful of states that have fast-tracked the legalization of their sports gambling market.
The history of gambling in Rhode Island started off with greyhound racing many years ago at Lincoln Park Raceway, which is now Twin River Casino. It was not until much more recently that the state expanded their legislature to include rules for legalized electronic gambling – and after a few more years, table games were allowed. After PASPA was overturned in mid-2018, the state legalized and began regulating sports gambling at their casinos.
Unlike many other states, such as nearby New Jersey, which has dozens of large casinos, Rhode Island is home to just two; Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel (formerly Newport Grand Slots). Both of these facilities offer slots, electronic games and table games. Now, each of these Rhode Island casinos also have in-house sportbooks where guests can wager on a variety of sports.
List of Casinos with Sports Betting in Rhode Island
As we previously mentioned, the state of Rhode Island has a limited offering of casinos – it is only home to two gambling facilities. Fortunately for bettors, both of them have full sportsbooks.
Tiverton Casino Hotel
Twin River Casino Hotel
As both of their names suggest, these Rhode Island casinos have on-site hotels with full resort-style accommodations. Twin River Casino is located in Lincoln, RI, just outside the capital of Providence. It features approximately 160,000 square feet of gaming space with over 4,000 electronic machines and more than 100 live table games.
Tiverton Casino Hotel is located in Tiverton, RI, just outside of Newport. Up until September 2018 it was called Newport Grand Slots, and only had electronic games. It was purchased by a new company (the Carpionato Group) in May of 2018, and the property was renovated. This casino has much smaller facilities, with just over 33,000 square feet of gaming space that hosts about 1,000 electronic machines and 30 live table games.
Tiverton and Twin River have recently opened brand new sportsbooks in 2018. Each of them allow gamblers to place wagers on all the most popular sports, as well as greyhound and horse racing. Both sportsbooks are powered by the popular bookmaker, William Hill, who was awarded a multi-year contract by the Rhode Island Lottery to run the sports betting market within the state. William Hill allows gamblers to bet on a wide range of college and professional sports, including Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, Soccer, Boxing, Auto Racing and Golf.
At the time of writing, the sportsbook at Twin River was still under construction, which will be completed before the beginning of 2019. Once finished, the Twin River Sportsbook will have a large seating area as well as 100+ large TVs and a full drink/food service. With that being the case, gamblers can still wager on sports here (though the area will be much smaller for the time being).
Rhode Island Mobile and Online Sports Betting
Since all of the sportsbooks in Rhode Island are powered by William Hill, you should eventually be able to place wagers on sports via the William Hill mobile app. For the time being, however, it is unclear exactly how that will play out, as the state has not yet clarified how (or if) they will regulate mobile sports betting.
The Future of Sports Betting in Rhode Island
As the smallest state in the continental United States, the future for sports betting in Rhode Island may be fairly limited. With that said, I imagine the market will be expanded at some point to include at least one additional physical location. Sports betting is sure to bring a big boost in tax revenue for the state, so it is hard to think they would not seek to expand it.
If nothing else, Rhode Island does have one thing going for it – it is perfectly positioned to capture the New England gambling market. It is currently the only state in the region that has legalized, regulated sports betting. Though Rhode Island has just two sports betting locations, the state is so small that they are both an easy drive from neighboring states like Massachusetts and Connecticut.
The state’s dominance of the sports betting market in the region may be short-lived, however, as more states seem to be considering new legislation that will allow for regulated sports betting. In the short-term, it does seem that the books at Twin River and Tiverton will continue to be a top destination for sports bettors in Rhode Island and the surrounding area.