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Live horse racing was a staple in Rhode Island for many years following the approval of pari-mutuel betting by voters in 1934. Rhode Island’s best-known track was Narragansett Park in Pawtucket, which opened the following year and hosted thoroughbred and steeplechase races for many years before finally closing in 1978.
The track was one of the most successful in the nation in its heyday. Seabiscuit broke his maiden at the track, setting a track record for 5 furlongs. It also was the site of a spectacular match race in 1942 between 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway at 1942 Preakness Stakes winner Alsab, who prevailed by a thin nose.
Lincoln Downs also offered thoroughbred racing for many years before a brief stint hosting standardbred harness racing. It then became a dog racing track for many years before morphing into the Twin River Casino and shutting down live racing altogether.
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Rhode Island also had pari-mutuel wagering on jai alai, but that ceased in 2003.
Today, Rhode Islanders can wager on simulcast horse races at both of the state’s casinos or open advance deposit wagering accounts, which enable betting via telephone or internet. Many ADW horse racing betting sites operate in Rhode Island in 2020. See all betting options in Rhode Island.
The state also approved sports betting in 2018 after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which formerly prohibited the practice outside Nevada and a few other states. It also appears to be on the cusp of formally authorizing online wagering on sports.