ENTERTAINMENT

Twin River campaigns to voters on table games

COURTESY TWIN RIVER
TWIN RIVER plans to campaign “aggressively” and rely heavily on social media in its effort to persuade voters to pass a state referendum question allowing table games at at its Lincoln gambling facility.
Posted 4/17/12

LINCOLN - Twin River plans to campaign “aggressively” and rely heavily on social media in its effort to persuade voters to pass a state referendum question allowing table games at its Lincoln gambling facility , according to chairman John E. Taylor Jr.

“We’re really trying to have a dialogue with voters,” Taylor told Providence Business News. “It’s being able to articulate why this makes sense. At this point, I don’t see many challenges. That’s not to say there won’t be. As we face them, we’ll address them.”

Taylor said the ‘Bringing Jobs to Rhode Island’ campaign, which held a kickoff event on April 16 at Waterplace Park in Providence, also will see “traditional” communications including appearances with local chambers of commerce and town hall meetings.

Several hundred people attended the rally at Waterplace Park.

“I [was] encouraged [but] I’m not totally surprised,” said Taylor. “I think Rhode Islanders want to hear about jobs.”

Twin River said opening table games would create 350 full-time equivalent jobs there and around 300 spin-off jobs within the local community as well as generate $16 million additional revenue for the state.

Voters will have their say on Nov. 6. The referendum must pass statewide and in Lincoln.

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RItruth

Twin River is a slot parlor. Adding table games to a slot parlor does not make a casino. Worse, the ruse perpetrated on Rhode Islanders by Twin River and Newport Grand management, the chambers of commerce, the tourism groups and state officials that adding table games will allow Twin River and Newport Grand to compete against CT and MA casinos is disgraceful.

The owners of Twin River are a consortium of banks and hedge funds. They have no RI presence. They do not want to compete against MA and CT casinos because 1) they know they can't; and 2) to do so would cost millions in new investment to build hotels, parking garages, indoor malls, etc., similar to CT's casinos and what we can expect from MA casinos.

The Twin River owners are happy to rake in a fixed % profit, knowing that people who spend money at slot parlors are, predominantly, poor, working poor and lower middle class. They're not likely to be college graduates; some are high school grads but many never finished high school, and they tend to be older, such as elderly or on fixed incomes.

General Assembly members should be embarrassed to support table games at Twin River and Newport Grand, as if it is a viable aspect of competing with CT and MA casinos.

Also, the chambers, tourism groups and restaurateurs who support table games do so under the mistaken belief that they are "protecting" their existing businesses from being cannibalized if RI had a casino. Ironically, a casino drives more non-casino spending than does a slot parlor. Casino patrons tend to be middle-class to affluent; college educated; and more likely to spend money in surrounding areas, such as downtown Providence and Federal Hill. But try and convince them of this economic reality. No matter how much you tell them a casino will draw thousands of more tourists to the state --- anyone EVER heard of any out-of-staters deciding to vacation in RI because they're going to visit Twin River? --- they just don;t get it.

Oh well, so now we'll see MA patrons abandon the RI slot parlors, and I'm sure a significant # of RI residents, once they have a SEMass casino and SEMass slot parlor handy, will do the same.

There's no hope for RI as long as the state's business community exhibits such a demonstrably incompetent lack of vision.

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