Update 11/11/2016 Rhode Island casino proposal becomes a reality
In Rhode Island, voters could discover as early as later today whether Twin River Management Group Incorporated has won approval to relocate the license for its Newport Grand Casino slots-only property to the new full-scale Twin River Tiverton Casino facility being planned for the city of Tiverton.
According to a report from The Herald News newspaper, the American casino operator won a state-wide ballot on Tuesday that approved altering the small eastern state’s constitution to allow the 15-mile move but the outcome of a similar local referendum is still up in the air pending the results from 800 postal ballots.
The newspaper reported that the state-wide question was approved by 55% with 44% against while the vote exclusively for Tiverton residents currently stands at 3,927 in favor with 3,644 opposed, which equates to percentages of 51.9% in contrast to 48.1%.
“I had hoped that tonight would be the beginning of the next chapter of this story,” John Taylor, Chairman for Twin River Management Group Incorporated told The Herald News on Tuesday evening. “I’m optimistic it will be but there are a number of ballots that have to be counted. We remain cautiously optimistic. Hopefully, we will have something to announce in the next day or two.”
If the measure, which was known as Question One, gains local approval following the postal ballot count, Twin River Management Group Incorporated would be required to close its Newport Grand Casino before starting work on the new Tiverton facility. Taylor revealed that his firm plans to site 1,000 slots alongside 30 gaming tables at the hoped-for Twin River Tiverton Casino and create up to 300 new jobs.
Twin River Management Group Incorporated, which also operates the nearby Twin River Casino along with the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, stated that the new facility would be located just before the Rhode Island border with Massachusetts on William S Canning Boulevard and additionally feature an 84-room hotel as well as a restaurant, three take-away eating establishments and an entertainment venue.
“We had 40 meetings with 1,500 people around town,” Taylor told the newspaper. “We tried to gather as much information as we could so we could design this in a way Tiverton wanted. When I first started the conversation, I thought that a smaller gaming facility without amenities would be what was wanted. What we heard, over and over, was that people wanted a hotel and an entertainment facility.”
Twin River Management Group Incorporated first proposed the Twin River Tiverton Casino in April of 2015 and explained that the new enterprise could open as soon as the summer of 2018. In exchange, the local municipality would receive a host fee worth $3 million a year in addition to $1 million in annual property, hotel and meal taxes.
“No matter what happens, I’m grateful for the response people gave us in Tiverton,” Taylor told the newspaper. “People might have been opposed but we were never treated disrespectfully. We greatly appreciate that.”
This article has been updated to reflect the following development: Rhode Island casino proposal becomes a reality