Rhode Island Lawmakers to Review Updated 20-Year Gaming Contract With Bally’s, IGT

  • The 20-year deal will allow Bally’s and IGT to maintain control of Rhode Island’s gambling industry
  • The House Speaker and Senate President have backed the contract to protect revenue and jobs
  • Bally’s has committed to additional payments and a $100m expansion to Twin River Casino Hotel
  • IGT executive Jay Gendron has said the contract will allow the company to preserve 1,000 jobs
Rhode Island state flag
In Rhode Island, the House Committee of Finance is set to review an updated 20-year state gaming contract with Bally’s and IGT. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Update June 1, 2021: The Rhode Island Senate on Tuesday gave its final green light for a 20-year extension of exclusive market operations for IGT and Bally’s. The bill awaits approval from Governor Dan McKee, who is in support of the measure.

Another 20 years in control

Rhode Island is currently home to only two casinos, Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel. As operator of those properties, Bally’s Corporation essentially runs the state’s land-based gambling industry, with the assistance of its supplier partner IGT.

On Wednesday, state officials unveiled an updated contract with Bally’s and IGT which would extend their dominance over Rhode Island gambling for the next 20 years. In return, the state expects to receive an estimated total of $300m per year in tax revenue, according to budget officials.

preserves the state’s third largest revenue stream.”

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio have both publicly backed the deal, arguing that it would increase state revenue and create new jobs. Speaking with WPRI-TV recently, Ruggerio said the agreement “preserves the state’s third largest revenue stream.”

The updated contract will go to the House Finance Committee on Thursday for review.

A high cost for Bally’s

According to Shekarchi and Ruggerio, the updated contract focuses mainly on providing jobs and additional state revenue, including a requirement that Bally’s offer an extra 30 jobs at its headquarters in Providence. The company, formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings, must also create 30 positions at a new office outside of the city.

The contract also increases Bally’s upfront payment to the state from $25m to $27m, and requires the operator to raise its problem gambling treatment commitment from $125,000 to $200,000. Bally’s will also pay $200,000 more than previously agreed upon for the “renaming rights” of an I-195 Commission park.

The expenses don’t stop there. Bally’s has also committed to a 50,000-square-foot expansion of its Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln, expected to cost approximately $100m.

Elizabeth Suever, vice president of government relations for Bally’s, has revealed some details of the planned expansion. She said the Lincoln casino will add 40,000 square feet of gaming floor and a 10,000 square-foot spa.

IGT commits to new jobs

Under the terms of the updated contract, IGT will maintain exclusive control over the technology that runs Rhode Island gambling, from Keno machines in corner stores to the two casinos of Bally’s.

IGT to preserve its 1,000 job placements in Rhode Island

Like its partner, IGT has also agreed to the creation of new jobs under the updated agreement. The company’s chief operations officer, Jay Gendron, has said that the legislation will allow IGT to preserve its 1,000 job placements in Rhode Island, in addition to increasing its workforce by 100.

If IGT falls short of its job commitment, it will pay a penalty of $7,500 per position, an increase from the earlier proposition of $6,400. The company’s overall investment has also risen from $150m to $155m.

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