Rhode Island Casinos and Gambling
Rhode Island only has two casinos, but it’s also the smallest state in the United States. It doesn’t matter where you live in Rhode Island; you’re not far from a casino.
Both casinos offer slot machines, but only one has table games. Poker players don’t have any legal options, as neither casino has a poker room and no stand-alone poker rooms are legal in Rhode Island.
All gaming machines in Rhode Island are called lottery machines because the state lottery commission regulates all gambling.
The minimum age to gamble in Rhode Island is 18 years old.
Top 3 Online Casinos
Newport Grand Slots – Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the Newport Grand Slots has over 50,000 square feet of gambling floor space and over 1,000 gaming machines.
The casino is open from 10 AM to 1 AM every day.
You can also place wagers on Jai-alai sessions from March to October every year or visit one of the two restaurants at the casino.
Newport Grand Slots doesn’t have an on-site hotel but they have arrangements with local hotels for members of the player’s club. Local hotels include the Howard Johnson Inn, Residence Inn by the Marriott, Hampton Inn and Suites, Ramada of Newport, and the Mainstay Hotel and Conference Centre.
Twin River Casino – Located in Lincoln (just north of Providence), the Twin River Casino has 300,000 square feet of casino space.
The property has 80 table games including blackjack, craps, three card poker, baccarat, big six wheel, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker, roulette, and Spanish 21.
However, the main draw is over 4,500 video lottery terminals.
Though there aren’t any tracks in Rhode Island, you can place bets on greyhound and thoroughbred races at Twin River.
Even if you’re not a big gambler the Twin River Casino is almost as much of a social excursion as a gambling trip with an events center and scheduled entertainment year round. In addition the property has almost 20 restaurants and bars and has received approval to build a hotel on site.
As I mentioned in the opening, poker players don’t have any legal options in Rhode Island. Most poker players travel to Connecticut to play in the large poker rooms at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun.
Residents also can try finding local or underground games but these always present challenges. They can be difficult to find unless you already know other local poker players and they aren’t regulated so you have to make sure you aren’t being cheated.
You also need to worry about being robbed if you play for high stakes.
The only other option is finding an online poker room that will accept US poker players. The choices aren’t as good as in the past, but you can still find a few places to play poker online.
Currently there aren’t any open race tracks in Rhode Island. However, as mentioned above, the two casinos in Rhode Island offer simulcasting and wagering in their race books.
Sports Betting in Rhode Island
You aren’t allowed to place any sports bets in Rhode Island legally. This doesn’t stop friendly bets between co-workers, participating in office pools, and placing wagers with illegal book makers.
People in every state place bets on sporting events, but legal sports betting is only available in a few places across the nation. The people placing bets rarely get in any kind of trouble but bookies do get arrested from time to time.
Millions of people participate in betting pools based on the NCAA basketball tournament called March Madness. These pools are illegal but you never hear about anyone being charged or prosecuted for participating. Just remember that because no one has been arrested doesn’t mean no one will be arrested.
One other option is placing bets with an online sports book. You can find hundreds that will take your wagers, but you need to do some research to make sure the one you’re considering using is safe and has a good track record of customer service.
If you wish to bet online, you may be able to do so legally depending on your interpretation of state laws, but check with a local attorney if you have any questions or concerns.
Rhode Island residents can play the state run lottery or the national Powerball or Mega Millions drawings. Additional games offered by the state include Lucky for Life, Monopoly, Wild Money, Keno, and Bingo, as well as instant win games.
Slot Machine Ownership
If you live in Rhode Island you can own any slot machine, as the state has no restrictions on age or type. This is just one of a few states in the United State where you’re allowed to own any slot machine. Most states don’t allow ownership of a machine that is less than 25 years old, and some states don’t allow any slot machine ownership.
Residents of the smallest state in the nation have two casino options in the state and two huge casinos in the next state over.
It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for gaming in Rhode Island. As a small state with two of the largest casinos in the world a short drive away, the state loses millions in tax revenue to Connecticut every year. The refusal to legalize table games at one of the two in state casinos and lack of poker options create a situation where the tax revenue leaving the state will continue.
Once a state legalizes casino gambling it seems short sighted to limit the availability. Isn’t the goal of the state to retain as much tax revenue as possible from gambling? If that’s the case you’d think states like Rhode Island would do a better job protecting their turf.