Rhode Island Legal Poker Sites

Rhode Island StateThere are no poker card rooms in the State of Rhode Island, which is pretty much a dry State when it comes to any form of poker requiring a real money buy-in. Fortunately, right next door are the huge casino resorts of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. These destinations will soon be joined by licensed casinos in Massachusetts, the first of which will open in 2015. With no legal home-games and no charity tournaments allowed, the only alternative to crossing State borders is a free-to-enter bar league event. Many RI residents play online at offshore internet poker sites too.

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This article gives you a through run-down of the availability of different types of poker game in and around the State of Rhode Island. First of all live poker casinos are covered. After that you will find information on the different forms of social poker game – before the focus then switches to online poker gaming. Next up, you can see excerpts concerning poker from the law books of RI, along with commentary on the most important parts. Finally, at the end of this page you will find a summary of Rhode Island Poker and a look to potential future scenarios.

Rhode Island Live Poker Games

There is only one casino in Rhode Island, and this does not have a poker room. This means that the only viable choices are the mega-casinos in Connecticut. Fortunately, the games and huge tournament events held in those venues make it worth the journey. Events include the WPT, WSOP Circuit and many more besides. Massachusetts will soon open casinos too. It is not yet known whether this increased competition will trigger the legalization of a poker room inside this State – judging by the general lack of gambling support, I suspect not.

Are Home Games Legal In Rhode Island?

Unlike in other New England States you can’t legally enjoy a social home game in Rhode Island, not even for pennies. With no carve out from the general ‘it is all illegal’ view of the Statutes, merely participating in such a game would be a criminal act. Fortunately, the law enforcement agencies in RI seem to have bigger fish to fry, and there is no history of busts for small social home games here. Charity tournaments are also not permitted in Rhode Island.

Bar leagues manage to carve out an exception for themselves. By not charging any entry fees, these games claim they are not really gambling. The general standard of play in such games would often back this up, though the (often very small) prizes for tournament winners could be entering a legal grey area.

Rhode Island Online Poker

As you can imagine, with no other forms of poker legal, online games are also considered to be covered by the main anti-gambling Statutes. With only just over a million residents, Rhode Island would not be large enough to support a thriving poker economy within its own borders even if it did regulate internet poker games. Should regulated online poker prove to be a big success in other places, there is a faint glimmer of hope that the RI government will consider regulation at some point in the future. Judging by the complete lack of legal real money poker options in this State, my hopes for regulation here are not particularly high.

In the meantime, offshore poker sites who are US-friendly welcome players from Rhode Island. You should understand that playing at these sites is at your own risk.

What Do The Rhode Island Gambling Statutes Say?

There are lots of different sections of the Rhode Island Statutes, they appear to be trying hard to include every single gambling format by covering these multiple times under different headings. For example, operation of illegal gambling devices is in one paragraph, while there is a separate list of forms of prohibited gambling in another – followed by the one paragraph which would seem to catch anything left over, covering gambling businesses. This last part basically says anything we do not say is legal is by default an illegal gambling business.

Here is that catch-all wording, from chapter 11, 19-1 of the Rhode Island Statutes:

“”Organized criminal gambling business” does not refer to betting specifically authorized by chapter 4 of title 41 or any act in amendment of that chapter, nor to any form of gambling otherwise licensed or permitted by specific statutory enactment.”

Rhode Island Poker – Summing It Up

The only thing that Rhode Island really has going for it from the perspective of poker fans is the fact that it is close to Connecticut and the huge casino resorts of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. You can get a free game in a bar if your idea of fun is not folding to the river and seeing who has the best hand. Alternatively there are plenty of offshore poker sites who welcome online players from this State.