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Rhode Island May Expand Gambling
Tue Nov 8, 2016 16:28
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Plans to expand gambling in the U.S. state of Rhode Island took a step forward on Wednesday. A Senate committee approved legislation to introduce a voter referendum on whether to allow table games at a slot parlor in Newport.
Currently the Newport Grand slot casino is only legally allowed to carry slot machines. Any expansion of their gambling services would require approval by a statewide referendum as well as a referendum in the local community. To get that referendum, both chambers of the state legislature would have to pass a bill placing that referendum on the ballot. After being approved by the committee on Wednesday, a full vote in the Senate is expected sometime next week. The legislation has already passed the House and most experts believe that it will pass the full Senate as well.
Proponents of adding table games to the slot casino say that it is necessary for the business to succeed. In November, Massachusetts authorized casinos in the state, and the close proximity to full casinos is costing and will continue to cost the slot parlor business. Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee ordered a study of the impact of Massachusetts’ casinos. The study estimates that the casinos could take more than $100 million per year away from Rhode Island’s gambling and tax revenue.
Earlier in the year, Rhode Island lawmakers passed legislation calling for a different gambling referendum. That referendum concerns bringing table games to a different slot parlor, the Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln, Rhode Island. At this point, we have no data on polling numbers for either referendum. Turning slot parlors into full casinos is usually not as controversial or difficult to accomplish as authorizing the slot parlors in the first place.
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