RI Supreme Court Upholds Standing for Narragansetts in Gambling Lawsuit

Jan 10, 2014

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has upheld a Superior Court finding that the Narragansett Indian tribe has standing to sue the state over the addition of table games at Twin River and Newport Grand. Yet it remains unclear if the tribe's suit will move forward.

Under state law, the Narragansett tribe gets about one fifth of one percent of all net revenue from video lottery terminals at Twin River in Lincoln. That’s up to a maximum of $10 million a year.

The addition of table games at Twin River resulted in the removal of 200 VLT terminals there. The Narragansetts sued the state in 2011, arguing that the move to add table games was unconstitutional.

The state says the Narragansetts weren’t hurt by the expanded gambling. But in its ruling, the Supreme Court found it likely the tribe was likely to get less income due to the removal of the 200 VLT terminals at Twin River.

The Supreme Court has yet to decide the tribe’s appeal of a lower court decision dismissing the lawsuit by the Narragansetts.