PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island voters will be asked to approve table games at Newport Grand on November’s ballot under legislation approved by the General Assembly in June.
Two questions will appear on the ballot. One question will ask voters statewide, and voters in Newport, whether they approve of the addition of casino-style gaming at Newport Grand, exclusively at its current location, 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, Newport.
Under the legislation that put the question on the ballot, Newport Grand will get the same rates on gaming revenue that Twin River gets. As the host community, Newport will get the same share that Lincoln gets from Twin River, although the state will guarantee that it gets at least $1.5 million annually from its share of revenue from the video lottery terminals for six years, then $1 million annually in subsequent years, contingent upon $40 million of agreed-upon improvements to the building being made by the developers who wish to buy the facility.
The second question posed under legislation will ask voters statewide to amend the state constitution to specify that no gambling facility may change locations within its city or town without an affirmative vote from the citizens of that city or town.
Under the bill, the addition of table games will be allowed at Newport Grand only if both Newport’s voters and voters statewide approve the expansion, and voters statewide approve the constitutional amendment about location contained in the other bill.
Newport Grand is currently under agreement for sale to a group of developers that includes former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino. But the agreement is contingent upon voter-approved expansion of the facility to include casino-style gaming.
In 2012, voters were asked to approve casino gaming at both Newport Grand and Twin River in Lincoln. Newport voters rejected the expansion. •