Rhode Island is looking to counter the competition from Massachusetts’s gambling industry by proposing to build a new casino in Tiverton, which is not very far from the Massachusetts’s state border. The Twin River Management Group is willing to build an 85,000 sq foot Twin River Tiverton casino and hotel, and expect the new facility to bring in around $3 million to Tiverton each year.
The Twin River group wanted to expand and give its Newport Grand casino a facelift back in 2012, but the proposal was shutdown. The group has now decided that building a new casino is a better proposal as it would compete with Massachusetts’s Plainridge Park casino and help keep Rhode Island gamblers from going out of state.
The new proposal, which was co sponsored by Rhode Island State Senator John Pagliarini, will be discussed in the Rhode Island General Assembly this week and a vote will be taken whether it should be sent to the November ballot for approval. The Senator believes that the new casino will be extremely beneficial to Tiverton and have a minimal negative impact on the 16,000 people who live there.
Twin River chairman John Taylor is pushing hard for the proposal to be approved and his team has already held around 40 meetings with the residents of Tiverton to discuss the pros and cons of the new casino. Taylor has stated in official meetings with Rhode Island legislators that he believes the new casino will generate an average of $47 million to the state and if there is are no new casinos constructed in southeastern Massachusetts, then the Tiverton casino could generate up to $70 million.
Even though the casino will generate both income and create hundreds of jobs for the residents of Tiverton, town councilman Brett Pelletier is not very optimistic over the new proposal, as he believes the casino could have a negative impact on his town and create a number of social issues including gambling addiction.
In a statement, Pelletier said “It’s a black hole, and that’s by design. The design is not to energize the neighborhood. It’s to get everybody to your casino. I don’t want to be left with a Newport Grand in 20 years. It’s not a nice place to be. And if it were, we’d still be talking about it being in Newport and not in Tiverton.’’
If the new casino proposal is to be approved, then it must end up winning the majority of votes throughout the state as well as in Tiverton. The fact that Rhode Island and Connecticut are building new casinos to counter the competition from casinos in Massachusetts’s is proving to be a major concern for casino operators in the state as it will significantly reduce their gross gaming revenue expectations.