So, the old Lincoln Greyhound Park has grown up. First it added class II slots, then ended racing and added more, expanded, and renovated to be included in the “Big Casino” category. Matter of fact, Twin River has expanded and renovated to be in the top ten largest casinos in the country.

Now, by adding table games, it’s all grown up.  It’s a real casino (even though they still offer VLT machines connected to the lottery commission).  TR is ready to play with the big boys in CT and the new guys in MA – or is it?

Competition with CT
With Table games, TR will surely add a new pool of gamblers. And now that the locals don’t have a need to travel to CT (although, it’s not really that far), TR will add to their own group of regulars. But, to truly compete for the big players that keep casinos afloat these days, they will have to expand further. Amenities – shopping, onsite hotel(s), spa, clubs, restaurants – must be added to compete, or it’s just a “locals” casino, not a destination.

The Big Bad North
Massachusetts is still far away from getting those casinos built and operational. Which gives time for Twin River to assess its gaming experience, stop those Bay-Staters at the border on their way to CT, and lasso them to the ranch in Lincoln. But will be able to keep them as loyal patrons? Everybody loves to check out the new place on the block – and Massachusetts will get a lot of checking out from a wide radius. And the MA properties that are on the drawing board are raising the ante so high, the competition amongst themselves is fierce and include some things that the best Vegas Resorts don’t even include. Without continued expansion, the RI casinos will be stuck between two monsters north and west of it – and to get the big gamblers, TR needs to become a resort.

The Need for Revenue
Rhode Island’s two gambling houses — Twin River and Newport Grand — generated $527.3 million in net revenues in the budget year that ended June 30, 2012. About $320.6 million of that went to the state — $288.8 million from Twin River and $31.8 million from Newport Grand — making gambling the third-largest source of state revenue. The net gain to the state over the next year from Twin River’s new table games is projected to be $6.5 million, after the state pays $4.3 million in new Lottery and state police expenses. However, I predict that RI will continue to get the revenue it needs and has relied on, but, unfortunately, the next three years will be the highlight of their success. The money will be there, but in three years, they, much like Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods will be scraping everything they can to make the same revenue it made.  The competition will just be too much – all I can say is “poor Newport Grand.”

On the “American Casino Guide” website, which I highly recommend, there are many reviews of all USA casinos. The reviews for Twin River unfortunately were not very complimentary. Some are dated, but TR should take note. Cleanliness, service, food, and overall ambiance gets mixed responses. To compete for patrons, it will have to upgrade in all areas and not give anyone in the Ocean State to drive elsewhere.

Men are from Table Games; Women are from Slots (parody of John Gray’s book “Men are from Mars, Women from Venus”)
So, supposedly, there is a clear-cut preference in the type of gaming the two genders play.  To put it simply, more women play slots, more men play table games.  A 2008 study by a research team from the University of San Francisco and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas showed more women tend to play bingo while more men tend to play blackjack. In addition to the gender difference, there is an age divide, the study showed, as people age 36 to 50 were most attracted to slots while people age 21 to 35 were most likely to play blackjack. Personally, I feel this study is a little dated, and the explosion of gambling in the United States has blurred those lines. Other recent studies show a cycle in the popularity of games, and that the “Nintendo” generation’s love of slots could give way to something else, much like tables games were replaced by slots on the gaming floor in the last ten years. But, now, Twin River will have both.
A Twin River consultant, Steven Rittvo of The Innovation Group of Companies, agreed that table games and video slot machines draw different types of gamblers. Gambling is a social activity, Rittvo noted in a 2011 interview with The Providence Journal. So that means more mixed-gender groups. So, rather than shifting money from the video slot terminals to the table games, there could be a small rise in slot revenue as new gamblers try their luck at that game. You have the ability to capture these people because you didn’t have that Gaming offering before. at that time.

So, with 66 table games now, Twin River is likely to attract more gamblers from Massachusetts and Rhode Island — at least until the Massachusetts venues open. Adding table games means drawing not just more gamblers, but different types than now enter the casino off Route 146. But more is expected if it will truly compete with their neighboring states.

I wish you luck, Twin River. I hope you accomplish all that you expect to accomplish.

That’s all for now.