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Rhode Island Gambling Laws

State laws regulate which types of gambling (if any) are permitted, how the games are regulated, and which types of gambling are exempt from these laws (such as charitable games and non-profit fundraisers). These laws tend to vary quite a bit from state to state, although many states have casinos on Indian reservations in accordance with federal law -- regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Church raffles and bingo games usually are permitted, for example, even in states where commercial or for-profit gambling is legal. Gambling may also involve horse racing and betting on games through pari-mutuel wagering. State lotteries also are a form of gambling, but are governed under separate laws and operated by the state itself.

Rhode Island Gambling Laws: An Overview

The state of Rhode Island permits licensed horse racing, licensed dog racing in certain cities, and charitable or non-profit gaming (bingo, raffles, etc.). In addition, licensed jai alai in the city of Newport is permitted. The state has at least one Indian casino that features card games, slot machines, and other popular games for wagering.

Additional provisions of Rhode Island gambling laws are listed in the following table.

Code Section 11-19-1 et seq.; 41-3-1 et seq.
Gambling Directly or indirectly setting up, publicly or privately, any chance, game or device for the purpose of disposing of money, or assisting others in such actions.
Horse Racing/Off-Track Betting Licensed horse racing, on-track pari-mutuel wagering legal.
Dog Racing/Off-Track Betting Licensed dog racing, on-track pari-mutuel wagering legal in cities of Burrillville, Lincoln, and West Greenwich.
Casinos Allowed? Operation of gambling places prohibited, except for casinos operated on Native American reservations.
Other Kinds of Gambling-Related Activities Allowed or Banned Bingo and raffles in senior citizen housing; bingo sponsored by charitable organizations; licensed jai alai within frontons in city of Newport are legal. Bookmaking, unlicensed horse races are illegal. Governmental lotteries allowed.

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation or voter-approved ballot initiatives, decisions from high courts, and other means. You may want to contact a Rhode Island criminal defense attorney or gaming law attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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