The parent company of Twin River proposed Tuesday, in essence, to relocate Newport Grand's video lottery terminals to a new location in Tiverton, close to the border with Fall River, Massachusetts, while adding 30 to 40 table games at the new site.
The full house has approved a bill allowing Twin River Casino to build a hotel on its property. Twin River wants the hotel to compete with proposed casinos in Massachusetts.
The restriction that keeps Twin River from building a hotel was originally put in place to protect Providence area hotels from losing business. But now Massachusetts plans to open three casinos and a slot parlor, threatening Twin River’s revenue. Twin River officials have unveiled a proposal to build a four story hotel on their Lincoln property.
The House Finance Committee is slated to vote Tuesday on a bill that would clear the path for a hotel to be built at Twin River in Lincoln. The casino was banned from building a hotel as part of a law passed in 2005.
Twin River says a hotel will help it compete, as the casino faces growing competition from new gambling facilities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Gambling is Rhode Island’s third-largest source of state revenue, and out of state casinos could cut the Ocean State’s annual revenue by up to $100 million.
The operator of Twin River is buying Newport Grand while vowing not to seek the addition of table games at Newport "without broad-based community support."
"For the time being, I think it's safe to say it's pretty much business as usual from a Newport Grand perspective, but with the added benefit of having Twin River as a sister property," John E. Taylor Jr., board chairman of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, the parent of Twin River and Twin River Management Group, said in a telephone interview.
Developer Joe Paolino has made a deal to buy Newport Grand slot parlor. Paolino says there are still a few a details to be worked out.
Newport Grand produces far less revenue for the state than Twin River in Lincoln. Yet it remains part of Rhode Island’s third-largest revenue stream. Paolino said he thinks Newport Grand offers a great opportunity.
He would not say how much he's paying for the slot parlor, or whether he had partners in the venture. He says a confidentiality agreement limits him from saying more.