Rhode Island Cities Would Get $3M Annually if Casinos Ever Suspend Operations, Bill Says

Posted on: June 2, 2021, 04:20h. 

Last updated on: June 2, 2021, 10:55h.

Under a new state bill, the two Rhode Island gaming properties would continue to receive at least $3 million a year from the state, even if the casinos once again get shuttered.

 Tiverton and Lincoln regularly incur costs associated with the casinos
Rhode Island state Rep. John G. Edwards shown here. Edwards recently introduced a bill to ensure the two cities, which include casinos, would continue to get state funds even if gaming properties must shutter temporarily. (Image: Uprise RI)

The legislation would keep the state money flowing to the government coffers of Tiverton and Lincoln. The payments would come even if casinos are closed for all or part of any fiscal year, the bill said.

The legislation (2021-H 6355) was introduced last week by Rep. John G. Edwards (D, Dist. 70). Edwards is the Majority Floor Manager of the state House of Representatives. There are several cosponsors of the bill. It was sent to the House Finance Committee for review.

Last year, during the pandemic, Tiverton did not receive their full stipend due to the closing of the casino, and the amount due [to] them was not addressed in a prorated manner,” Edwards said in a recent statement explaining the legislation.

Under the current law, a casino could close for one day, and then either town risks not receiving their stipends, Edwards said. “This legislation would close that loophole,” Edwards adds.

He further explained the bill is needed because Tiverton and Lincoln regularly incur costs associated with the casinos. They should be properly compensated, Edwards said.

Last year, Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel shut down between March 13 and June 8. Then in November, both casinos closed for a second time. They reopened in December.

Tiverton was supposed to get $3.1 million in gaming revenue from the state once the gaming property was open for an entire fiscal year, according to the Providence Journal. But the funding deal was considered by state officials to be no longer valid because of the pandemic-related shuttering.

Last year, Edwards told the Journal the casino was open for three quarters of the fiscal year, and Tiverton should have gotten a prorated amount of money. That worked out to $2.3 million.

COVID Restrictions Lifted

Last month, the use of face masks at the two Rhode Island casinos became optional for most guests. It is only required for guests and employees who did not complete COVID-19 vaccines.

Guests do not have to provide documentation to prove they got the vaccine shots. Most plexiglass was also taken down from the casino floors. Safety checks, which include temperature and ID scans, were discontinued.

Rhode Island’s two casinos are owned by Bally’s Corp. In November, Caesars Entertainment completed the sale of Bally’s Atlantic City to Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corp., which previously was Twin River Worldwide Holdings.

The deal gave the company 10 casinos and racetracks in the US. The company now has 13 properties.

Twin River Worldwide was renamed Bally’s Corp. on Nov. 9. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Bally’s has two operating divisions. Bally’s Casinos includes brick-and-mortar gaming and entertainment properties. The second division is Bally’s Interactive. That unit includes the recently acquired Bet.Works.

Bet.Works Deal Closes

Bet.Works is a sports betting platform provider to operators in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, and New Jersey. The deal was valued at $125 million in cash or stock. The transaction was closed on June 1.

Bally’s Interactive also includes Monkey Knife Fight, a fantasy sports site, and SportCaller, a free-to-play game provider, according to a company statement.