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.
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Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Newport) on Wednesday night said she opposes the addition of table games at Newport Grand, after the Newport City Council voted 4-3 to reject the host agreement for a transformation of the slot parlor into a full-fledged casino.
"In light of the council's decision to not approve the host agreement, I can not support the referendum," Paiva Weed told RIPR.
The rising number of casinos in New England that’s hurting the Foxwoods Resort Casino is both a threat to table games in Rhode Island and the reason to add more.
Analyst Clyde Barrow said the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut has been losing millions of dollars since its peak in 2006. To blame: a slow economic recovery and a growing number of casinos in New England.
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