Newport Grand


Some good news for Rhode Island’s  state budget: income and sales tax receipts are up over last year’s totals.

That’s the report from the state Department of Revenue comparing state revenues through October with the same period last year. Income tax collections are 3 percent about last year and sales levies are up 4.3 percent, according to data released today.

On a more sober note, state gambling tax collections are down 1.3 percent from the same period last year.


Developer Joe Paolino says he’ll try again to bring table games to Newport. Voters approved turn the Newport Grand slot parlor into a casino, but Newporters voted it down. 

Massachusetts voters gave gambling there a thumbs up. And that will hurt the slot parlor, said Paolino “You know right now I’m more concerned about the workers, because the workers are the ones that really put up this fight, they’re very concerned about their jobs.”

Proponents pushed the jobs angle; while opponents said a casino didn’t fit in Newport.

Newport voter turnout, likely driven by the casino referendum at Newport Grand,  is high. That report comes from old friend and former great ProJo reporter Brian C. Jones.

As of 3:30 about 820 of the estimated 2,200 voters eligible to cast ballots at the city’s `Fifth Ward’ polling place at Rogers High School had voted. Election officials said that there have been a steady stream of voters all day.

As the late U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill  so famously said, ``All politics is local.’’


This Election Day Newport voters will decide whether table games like poker and blackjack will be allowed at Newport Grand slot parlor.  The issue has become divisive in the small waterfront city.


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.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your comments and tips are always welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and you can follow me on the twitters. Without further ado, here we go.

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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

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.

File / 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.


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.

Democratic secretary of state candidate Guillaume de Ramel joins Political Roundtable to discuss his campaign; disclosure shortcomings involving lobbyists; the Democratic race for governor; and other issues.


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).


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.

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.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

In a marathon session that stretched for almost 12 hours before ending shortly after 4 am, the General Assembly closed its 2014 session by approving a plan that could turn Newport Grand into a casino, imposing a three-year moratorium on the use of high-stakes tests as a graduation requirement,  and setting the stage for Governor Lincoln Chafee to sign a bill making calamari Rhode Island's official state appetizer.