PROVIDENCE – After yesterday’s election, casino games are headed to Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln but not to Newport Grand.
Although the referendums passed statewide for both slot parlors, local voters in Newport narrowly rejected the ballot question that sought to authorize table games like poker and blackjack at Newport Grand. Residents in Lincoln overwhelmingly voted for table games at Twin River.
Casino backers, particularly Twin River, pumped more than $4 million into a pro-gambling advertising campaign.
Statewide, voters approved the two ballot questions – one for each slot parlor – by more than 2-to-1 margins, but the local Newport question was rejected by 54 percent of voters.
Owners of the state’s two slot parlors argued that the facilities needed table games in order to compete with the casinos that will be built in neighboring Massachusetts.
A state-commissioned study by Christiansen Capital Advisors estimated that Rhode Island would lose $100 million in annual revenue once Massachusetts’ new gambling facilities are running.
According to the Associated Press, Twin River could begin offering poker and blackjack as early as summer 2013.
The two gambling referendums – Question 1 for Twin River and Question 2 for Newport Grand – were the highest profile of seven questions on the statewide ballot, including borrowing authorizations to pay for a new veterans home, clean-water projects, environmental preservation, renovations to Rhode Island College and creation of more affordable housing.