Massachusetts casinos

Rhode Island’s largest legal gambling venue, Twin River Casino, is so far fending off a challenge to its gambling revenue from a new competitor, the Plainridge slot parlor in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported today that in July, the first full month of operation at the former horse-racing track, that the slot machines and electronic table games harvested $18.1 million in gambling revenue.


So Twin River’s parent company wants to build a new casino in Tiverton.   The idea is likely to raise a few eyebrows, but RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it  has to be done.

There are many Rhode Islanders who don’t believe that state government should be in the business of promoting gambling. Those critics point out the lottery games and slot-machine emporiums that speckle New England like daffodils these days are little more than cheap taxes on the poor.


Newport residents defeated the expansion of table games like poker and blackjack at Newport Grand slot parlor two years ago.  But because casinos with table games are likely coming to southern Massachusetts, the issue is back on the ballot. 

This time however, a team of developers want to buy Newport Grand, and they have a plan to sweeten the pot, hoping to get approval.  As part of our Rhody Votes coverage Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender explains how the issue is dividing residents in this historic city by the sea.

File / RIPR

One of the developers behind turning Newport Grand into a casino said he’s surprised that Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed has now come out against table games in Newport. Her comments came shortly after Wednesday night’s vote by the Newport City Council to reject a host agreement with developers.


It’s election year in Rhode Island. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay parses the one issue that never goes away in our small state – casino gambling.

There’s an old gallows humor joke about banks and creditors. If you owe the bank $30,000, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank $300 million, you own the bank.


Governor Lincoln Chafee signed several bills designed to attract more gamblers to Twin River Casino.  The Lincoln casino is one of two in Rhode Island, and the only one with table games.

Former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino has been a stalwart booster of Buddy Cianci’s redemption tour. But now that Cianci has filed for election for Providence mayor and Charles Mansolillo has been appointed Cianci’s campaign manager, Paolino is turning his political attention to Newport, where he is part of a group that wants to buy and improve the Newport Grand gambling emporium.

(Rhode Island being Rhode Island, Paolino and Mansolillo are well-acquainted; the two ran against each other for mayor in 1986 in a campaign won comfortably by Paolino).

file / RIPR

Former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino said he and some partners are interested in buying Newport Grand. Paolino said the struggling slot parlor needs to be saved before table games come to Massachusetts.

Paolino said he and his two partners have been talking with owners of Newport Grand since last summer. Since then Foxwoods has been looking at building a casino in Fall River, and Paolino sees that as a dire threat.

Don Boorman / RIPR

Every serious candidate says Rhode Island’s poor economy is the top issue in this year’s governors’ race. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time for Rhode Island to sort economic myth from reality.

Say hello to any of the five major candidates for governor and you’ll get a marathon run of rhetoric on the need to create jobs in our struggling state.  On the Republican side, Ken Block and Allan Fung have both talked about ushering in a better business climate, lowering taxes and looking for ways to save taxpayer money.

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Rhode Island’s gaming industry is keeping a sharp eye on what’s happening in Massachusetts as the state’s gambling commission works out where to license up to three resort-style casinos and a slot parlor.

Rhode Island pulls in enough money from Twin River and Newport Grand to make gaming the third largest source of revenue for the state. Casinos in Massachusetts threatens that revenue.

So how close is Massachusetts to having casino gambling? Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison spoke with The Boston Globe’s Mark Arsenault to find out.

In what would be a serious threat to Rhode Island’s state gambling revenue stream, Fall  River is eyeing yet another attempt to enter the casino market.

Mayor William Flanagan has scheduled an announcement for Tuesday on a deal for a $750 million casino in the seen-better-days onetime textile center in  southeastern Massachusetts that practically straddles the R.I. border, according to several Massachusetts media outlets, including WBUR.

Partnering with Fall River would be Foxwoods, the Connecticut-based tribal gambling empire.

More bad news for Rhode Island gambling venues: Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino has announced a major retail expansion at its flagship property in Uncasville, Conn. The new retail destination will have 200,000 square feet of entertainment, shopping and dining. The new facility will be located next to the Winter Garage. Construction is slated to begin later and the space is scheduled to open in early 2015.