Table Games Back On The Ballot After Senate Reconvenes

Jul 1, 2014

In what the Senate president called “an abundance of caution” the state senate voted again and approved a bill putting casino gambling in Newport on the November ballot.

Newport Grand currently has only slot games, but a referendum will let Newport voters decide on table games, a measure which failed just two years ago.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says the governor’s legal counsel was worried that the part of the bill giving $1.5 million dollars to Newport would be considered an appropriation. And appropriation measures need a two-thirds majority, or 26 votes. It got only 24 votes in the final hours of the session.

“And the day the governor came down to walk the cliff, when he got out of the car and said to me, ‘did you know there’s a legal issue on the referendum?’ And I said no,” said Paiva Weed.

Senator Louis DiPalma and Edward O’Neil were the only two who voted against it. DiPalma said Rhode Island has become too reliant on gambling.

“Casinos are basically a money sink, and it adds very little to the domestic product of the state. I would prefer us to be focused on other areas. It’s going to take us in the wrong direction," said DiPalma.

The measure passed 32- 2.

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