Rhode Island Set to Decide if Casino Can Be Created

by Jim Hall

Voters in Rhode Island will decide in November if casino operator has the right to build a casino along the border of Massachusetts.

Tiverton, Rhode IslandPolitics have been very expensive this season as voters will be deciding if a casino can be created on the border of Massachusetts. The decision is one that has seen promotion on both sides as there are groups who want to see the gaming venue added while the other side wants to stop casino gaming from being added to the area. Close to $2 million has been spent in campaigns to see the casino be added to Tiverton. The political leadership as well as labor unions are in support of this effort.

Reportedly, gambling is the third biggest resource for the state as far as revenues are concerned and the state actually has a higher gambling revenue per adult in the state than in Nevada. Advertisements have run rampant to try and see a new casino added to area, by way of social media as well as television.

Needing Votes

To be able to see the casino come to fruition, votes are needed. Tiverton (Rhode Island) is a colonial town located along the coastline where woodlands are picturesque and the population is small. The town has just over 13,000 registered voters, individuals who are essential to bringing the plan to life. $3 million in revenues would be guaranteed for the city which is a driving point proponents are using to try and get voters to vote yes. The architectural footprint is said to be modest so that the casino will not look garish in the region that is quite quaint.

The Opponents Side

Opponents of the gaming venue are worried about several issues. Long-term viability, social ills and heritage of the area are all concerns. Individuals do not want the area to become congested and take away from the history of the area. Twin River Management Group, the company behind the venue, has tried to show how the venue can be of benefit and why the area was chosen. The Chairman of the company, John Taylor, stated that the company choose the town due to voters being in favor previously of casino proposals statewide. This includes the company’s proposal for a slots parlor in Newport that failed to move forward.

Come November 8th, the statewide ballot will see Question 1 cover the topic while the Tiverton ballot will have the issue as Question 8. Voter approval is sought to allow Twin River to transfer their Newport Grand casino to a new venue in Tiverton. Taylor has stated that the new casino’s contribution will be around $50 million annually. This would be almost twice the amount the state is provided by the Newport venue.

It is believed that the amount might be more if a destination casino being created by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Taunton does not take place. The casino in Tiverton and a hotel will be located just off the highway near Fall River, Massachusetts. The venue has plans to bring in gamblers as a convenient entertainment property in the region.

Twin River has tried very hard to address any concerns of residents. Taylor stated that the company has actually visited homes to talk about the casino and that the company’s track record should show that the gaming facility will not be a burden to public safety. Taylor stated that most residents were worried about the environment and the company has changed their plans to protect wildlife and wetlands that surround the area where the venue will be constructed.

For now, everyone just has to wait and see the outcome of the vote. Will residents vote yes to allow the casino or will the vote be no and Twin River will have to come up with other plans?