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Twin River proposes ‘convenience casino’ in Tiverton

Group plans 1,000 slots, 30-40 table games

The new casino would get a license from the Newport Grand.
The new casino would get a license from the Newport Grand.Associated Press

PROVIDENCE — A new casino in Tiverton with table games and easy access to state highways would allow Rhode Island to compete with neighboring Massachusetts for gambling revenue, state casino operators said Tuesday.

Twin River Management Group has secured the rights to acquire 45 acres off Route 181, along the Massachusetts border, and the operators of the Twin River Casino in Lincoln plan to build a casino there with about 1,000 slot machines and 30 to 40 table games, said John Taylor, the group’s chairman.

The existing gambling license at Newport Grand in Newport, which Twin River acquired last month, would be transferred to the new casino, but voters must approve the plan first, Taylor said, adding that he hopes to see the question on the ballot in November 2016.

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He did not offer details of the proposal, such as whether it would include a hotel.

“There aren’t pictures of a new building or a discussion of amenities or a laundry list of things we’re going to have right now. We’re at the very front end of discussion with the community,’’ Taylor said, according to the Providence Journal. “We want to know: Are you open to considering a project like this?’’

Taylor hinted that the casino would not be in direct competition with the full-fledged casino resorts planned by Wynn Resorts for Everett and by MGM Resorts International for Springfield in Massachusetts. State authorities also have been taking applications for the third and final casino project, for Southeastern Massachusetts.

“We do not believe that property can support another $500 million destination casino on it,’’ Taylor said of the Tiverton site. “We look at this location as a convenience casino location, one where people can get into it and get out of it easily.”

He also said the new facility would not compete with Twin River for clientele. “It’s not a net-sum game,’’ he said.

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In addition to the major casinos planned in Everett and Springfield, a 1,250-machine slot parlor in Plainville is set to open in June.

Gambling revenue in Rhode Island is expected to take a hit approaching $100 million a year because of these Massachusetts casinos and gambling facilities.

Analysts predict Rhode Island’s lottery revenues would take a hit almost immediately after those venues open in Massachusetts.

Lottery revenues are the third-largest source of revenues for the state government. Last fiscal year, revenues were $376.3 million, and $293.8 million of that came from Twin River, according to the Rhode Island Department of Revenue’s Office of Revenue Analysis.

Relocating the casino to Tiverton makes sense, Taylor said, because of Newport Grand’s location and Newport’s reluctance to expand gambling there. Residents have twice voted against adding tables games.

Twin River Management Group acquired Newport Grand last month, but the merger is subject to approval from the state lottery and the state Department of Business Regulation.

Taylor said the deal should close by June 30.

Governor Gina Raimondo said in a statement that the Tiverton proposal could be ‘‘beneficial for the state,’’ while House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello expressed his unequivocal approval.

‘‘I have always been a supporter of Twin River, and I applaud them for their creativity and their willingness to invest in our state,’’ Mattiello said in a statement.

A message left for Tiverton Town Council President Denise deMedeiros was not immediately returned.

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