Lottery partnership benefits all Rhode Islanders

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All Rhode Islanders benefit from our state’s partnerships with Twin River and IGT. Lottery revenues are the third largest source of state income and are used to provide essential state services such as educating children and caring for the needy.

These two state partners, IGT and Twin River, have been at loggerheads lately as the Legislature debates whether to extend IGT’s lottery contract with the state. Both companies make compelling cases, and we as lawmakers have a responsibility to analyze the arguments carefully before we proceed.

Throughout the public discussion, IGT has emphasized how much they mean to Rhode Island. The company we used to know as G-TECH was founded in Rhode Island and grew into a global business before being acquired by IGT. They constructed a prominent high rise in downtown Providence, and now employ 1,000 Rhode Islanders.

Sometimes lost in the public conversation is just how tremendous a corporate citizen Twin River has been too, and how much they mean for our state.

Revenue from Twin River generates $300 million to the state, $11 million to Lincoln, and $4 million to Tiverton each year. Twin River is one of the state’s largest employers, with 2,400 people working at the Lincoln and Tiverton facilities, and they support hundreds of Rhode Island-based vendors.

The investments Twin River has made, including a new complex in Tiverton and a new hotel in Lincoln, have helped to protect the state’s interests as competition increases in neighboring states.

The Twin River venues are often packed with visitors, including many from out-of-state, enjoying a fun night out. In fact, 5.8 million people visit the casinos each year, making them a top tourist destination.

Additionally, Twin River’s charitable fund provides hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to local non-profits.

The Senate is in the midst of a series of hearings on the IGT contract extension proposal. It is a complicated issue, and we have set aside considerable time to delve into all the details. I am very grateful to the members of the Senate Finance Committee for their thoughtful questioning and for taking the time necessary to thoroughly review every aspect of the proposal.

They have devoted many hours to a hearing process that is both thorough and transparent, including creating a website devoted to the process.

This is a complex issue, and we must proceed carefully.

Certainly, we don’t want to lose IGT’s regional headquarters and the jobs they provide. However, we must look diligently at all factors. We need to review the cost of the services as well as the Rhode Island jobs provided; the share of video lottery terminals (slot machines) each company provides, and whether that is appropriate; the language guaranteeing job creation and whether specific language regarding a regional headquarters needs to be added; and language to improve transparency and accountability when the contract is amended, as may be the case with any contract of this length.

In the end, whatever path forward is chosen, IGT, Twin River and the state will continue to be partners. We all need to work together now and over the course of any new contract for the mutual benefit of the companies and the taxpayers of Rhode Island.

I have every confidence that after the thorough analysis of the Finance committees, we will arrive at the solution that best serves the people of our state.

Maryellen Goodwin is a Democrat represented District 1 (Providence) in the Rhode Island Senate.

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justanidiot

road island missed its chance years ago to be a leader in profitting from sin. day should hab legalized marijuana at least a decade ago, longs before udder states did it. tink of all that tax revenue rolling into da state from mass conn ny and all da udder states. now we is stuck with gambling cancer sticks and booze. douse just rotates da money around da state as sinners just stay near home to sin. wit mass and all da udder casinoes dis is a big downward spiral

Thursday, November 7
Cat

It was always just a matter of time. The more saturated the playing field gets, the less revenue Twin River will generate. The loss of revenue will lead IGT to jaunt off to greener pastures. The entire lottery deal is a typical "wink and nod" RI political partnership. Start looking into what Gerry Aubin is getting out of all of this contract negotiation. There is a secret backdoor deal happening and it isn't in favor of the RI citizens. IGT is no longer GTECH. A born and bred RI company. It is an Italian company that SLASHED a massive amount of RI jobs back in 2014-2015 when it bought IGT. It is the literal sheep in wolves clothing. And Gina wants to let it sleep in the hen house!

Twin River would be better served with taking its money and investing in a refresh so that it can keep up with the new casinos in MA. It needs a hotel and a lot of other entertainment options available to compete. Will Twin River ever go away? Probably not. But it will most certainly not bring in the amount of money it did when the closes competition was in Bangor, ME or Uncasville, CT. Compete or be prepared to die a slow death.

Tuesday, November 12
Ben Dover

Memo to the General Assembly; THAT'S WHY THEY CALL IT GAMBLING.

4 days ago