Rhode Island Tiverton Casino Opens September 1, as New England Approaches Gaming Saturation Point

Posted on: August 27, 2018, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: August 27, 2018, 09:17h.

The Tiverton Casino Hotel in Rhode Island will open its 33,600 square foot casino and 84-room hotel on Saturday, September 1.

Tiverton casino Rhode Island MGM Springfield
The Tiverton Casino in Rhode Island will get its slots spinning just a week after crowds packed MGM Springfield’s opening in Massachusetts. (Image: KM Cannon/Review-Journal)

The gaming floor will consist of 1,000 slot machines and 32 table games. The facility also has a dedicated sportsbook, as Rhode Island is one of seven states that have passed laws to regulate the wagering activity after the federal prohibition was repealed by the Supreme Court in May. Work began on the $140 million complex last September after the Tiverton Planning Board voted 6-1 to approve the construction plan.

Located just 500 feet from the Rhode Island-Massachusetts border, the casino is just the latest gaming venue to clutter the New England region.

MGM Springfield, the $960 million integrated casino resort located five miles north of the Massachusetts-Connecticut border, opened last week. In response, Connecticut’s two tribes are jointly constructing a satellite casino in East Windsor, 13 miles south of MGM Springfield.

Crowding Ahead

Twin Rivers is the only licensed casino operator in Rhode Island. Along with its new Tiverton venue, the company owns its namesake property in Lincoln, as well as the Newport Grand, the latter which is permanently closing August 28. Twin River also manages the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Arapahoe Park parimutuel horse racetrack in Aurora, Colorado.

Rhode Islanders approved a constitutional ballot referendum during the November 2016 election to allow Twin River to build a casino resort in Tiverton. The company said it would close the aging and more remote Newport Grand as a result.

The Tiverton casino is less than an hour’s drive to Plainridge Park, the slots-only facility that was the first commercial casino to open under Massachusetts’ Expanded Gaming Act passed in 2011. The Rhode Island venue is also roughly 75 miles from Connecticut’s Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos.

Though the odds appear long at this juncture, there remains a chance that Massachusetts’ Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe will be permitted to build a $1 billion integrated casino resort in Taunton, which is less than 20 miles away from Tiverton.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is holding off on issuing the third and final full-fledged commercial gaming license that’s earmarked for the southeastern part of the state. The agency’s concern is that if the Mashpee tribe wins its federal fight to build a casino on land that was only recently acquired, the regional gaming market would become oversaturated.

Last but not lease, Encore Boston Harbor, the Wynn Resorts $2.5 billion project, remains under construction in Everett, Massachusetts.

Company Expansion

Twin River remains bullish on the East Coast gaming industry. Along with its Tiverton investment, the company recently acquired Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware through a planned merger.

Dover Downs shareholders will take a 7.225 percent ownership stake in the combined company, and Twin River will transition into a publicly traded entity on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ.

Dover Downs reported a $1 million loss last year, but recent changes to the market have Twin River encouraged. Delaware recently lowered taxes on slot revenue by one percent, and table games by nearly 14 percent.

Delaware is also up and running with full-fledged sports betting. Dover Downs took its first single-game and futures wagers in June.