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Rhode Island Online Gambling Laws

Rhode Island gamblers have a maze of gambling laws and statutes to wade through, as well as federal laws to consider when determining what type of legal gambling options are available. Those interested in Rhode Island online gambling will find helpful information concerning the legality of multiple gambling platforms, including Rhode Island online sports betting, casino gambling, poker games and bingo, as well as multiple land based gambling options.

Rhode Island gambling law does not directly define gambling. Instead it lists prohibited forms of gambling. The law lists as prohibited forms of gambling any lottery, game, chance or device of any kind or nature and known by any name. The law is silent on the issue of players but makes it a felony crime to directly or indirectly set up, promote, draw, carry on or put forth any of the prohibited forms of gambling.

Inducing others to visit a gambling place is a crime punishable with a jail term of one year. Inducing others to visit a gambling place includes inviting, enticing, persuading or inviting on any pretext another person to visit any room, house or other place used for gambling with the intention that such person shall at that place gamble or play any game of chance for valuable consideration including money.

Rhode Island gambling law defines the crime of frequenting a gambling place as frequenting any gambling place where gaming is carried or practices. The landlord of the place who frequents the place to view the premises and others who frequent the premises while performing official duty are exempt from this law. This convicted of frequenting a gambling place can be sent to jail for 30 days.

History of Gambling Laws In Rhode Island

Rhode Island has a long history of gambling. It was one of the activities embraced by the immigrants from Europe. In the early 20th century, mobsters took control of gambling in Rhode Island. In 1925 the state police began to crack down on gambling in the state. Today however, the state has certain forms of regulated gambling.

The first form of gambling to be legalized was the lottery. The state lottery was established in 1974. Pari-mutuel betting was legalized in 1934. Gaming machines were legalized in 1992. However the very next year, full slot machines were legalized. This was done mainly to compete with the Foxwoods Casino in neighboring Connecticut. The authorities in the state did consider the idea of casino gambling was back in 1980. The resident polls however made them reconsider the idea. Attempts to start casino gambling in the state were also met with stiff resistance from conservative action groups and the idea was then put into cold storage. In the late 1990s the Narragansett tribe won the right to offer casino games but the official casino proposal was defeated by the voters in 2006.

Rhode Island Poker Gambling Laws

Rhode Island gambling law does not specifically address the issue of social gambling including home poker games. In fact while other states specifically provide an exception for home poker games, Rhode Island does not do so. Playing home poker games can run afoul of the state laws, not just because there is no specific exception for such games but also because of a judgment of the state Supreme Court that held that poker is a form of lottery. In Rhode Island all forms of lottery, except the state lottery are prohibited. Hence Rhode Island law prohibits the playing of poker. There are no exceptions. Legal Rhode Island online poker gambling is available at a handful of legally licensed and regulated poker rooms which are located outside of the USA. It is illegal to operate an online poker site within the state of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Charitable Gambling Laws

Charitable gambling is permitted under Rhode Island gambling law. In fact until 1983 poker and casino nights were included in charitable gambling. Presently raffles and bingo are the only forms of permitted charitable gambling in the state.

Racino Gambling Laws in Rhode Island

There are two legal greyhound racing park in Rhode Island. Both are racinos as they have gaming machines attached to them. It may appear to be a small number but one must remember that Rhode Island is the smallest state on continental United States. The Newport Grand racino has over a 1000 video lottery terminals while the Twin River Dog Track & Racino based in Lincoln has over 4000 video lottery terminal and 22 bingo seats. RI residents and visitors who enjoy casino games can access any of the multiple Rhode Island online casinos that are legally licensed and regulated outside of the United States.

Rhode Island Lottery Gambling Laws

Private lotteries are illegal in Rhode Island. The state lottery is the only legal lottery in the state. The state lottery includes video lottery machines, instant scratch off tickets and pull table games. The Rhode Island lottery is a member of the multi state lottery association. In 2011 the state lottery director went on record suggesting that Rhode Island may consider offering online lottery.

Efforts to Legalize Online Gambling in Rhode Island

There are no bills pending in the state legislature seeking to regulate online poker or online gambling. While the state law does not specifically address online poker, playing poker can run afoul of the state law. Federal law does not prohibit playing online poker or casino games. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that was passed in 2006 does not prohibit players in the United States from participating in legal online gambling. In fact, it does not address players at all but rather places regulatory oversight on how the online gambling transactions can be processed. This regulation is directed at online gambling site operators and payment processors. There are no federal laws which target participants of online gambling.

Rhode Island Gambling Laws

Individuals who are interested in reviewing the state's gambling laws in their original context and in their entirety can access the information on the State of Rhode Island Website: Laws and Statutes. This is where you will find the original documentation of state laws concerning gambling.

**The information contained on this page is not intended to serve as or replace professional legal services, advice, or interpretation of the law. If you are seeking these types of professional services, then we recommend that you contact an attorney. We are not lawyers and are not certified or trained to provide any type of legal services.