Russell Moore, GoLocalProv Article Informative, But Has He Ever Been ToVegas Lately? – Part 2

Happy Birthday, America!
There are July 4th promos and events through New England’s Casinos. Check Facebook for the most up-to-date happenings. Don’t forget to check the casino websites, too.
Tuesday, I referred to a terrific article from GoLocalProv. In Part 2, I discuss Mr. Moore’s propsals. In my opinion, percentages like those in the Bloomberg study don’t really tell the whole truth. It takes more than blanket statements based on % to bring out the whole story. Basically the story is based on the following study and statistics:

  • An analysis by Bloomberg News this week found that Rhode Island currently ranks second in the nation with respect to reliance on “sin” taxes (see Tuesday’s post for definition of “sin” taxes.)
  • Roughly 5.1 percent of the (RI) state’s budget is provided by those sources.
  • The Bloomberg News study survey did not take into consideration revenue derived from other gaming such as slot machines or table games! (Mr. Moore assumes Rhody would be #1 if this was added to pot.)

First of all, size matters. Being the smallest state in the Union skews those percentages. Also, large states, especially those with strong industrial and government taxable revenue, may lose position in that study, even though they may lead in numbers and size of casinos in their state. Tobacco and alcohol taxes raise the “%” of sin taxes in many large states such as Montana & Texas (#4 & #5 respectively). Montana, which has only seven casinos, and permittable VP in bars, and Texas, which has only one casino in the entire state, depend heavily on it’s tobacco & alcohol tax revenue.! Interesting that GoLocalProv doesn’t mention #1 state – Vermont, at double the “%” and no casinos.

So, here are his suggestions and my analysis:

1) “…Twin River and Newport Grand should [not] be allowed to have a monopoly on gaming in our state. On the contrary, the state needs to build more casinos.” I DO NOT AGREE – has Mr. Moore noticed the latest trends in Atlantic City, CT and the drastic downturn in Delaware due to additional casinos in Pennsylvania & Maryland? Additional competition in such a small area as New England is not the answer. Raising the quality of our casinos to all-in-one destinations is a better answer.

2) Moore says, “I’m sure the not-in-my-back-yard-types who own tourism and entertainment businesses in Rhode Island will be up in arms about my feelings about gambling. The argument they’ll make is that entertainment and restaurants from casinos will hurt the existing businesses in Rhode Island.” An additional casino would hurt existing Ocean State businesses, just ask the stores, and restaurants along Route 2 on way to Foxwoods. Raising the quality of our casinos to all-in-one destinations is still a better answer.

3) Moore says, “why not consider taking what once was the Rhode Island Mall and inviting Steve Wynn or some other gambling mogul to build a casino there? A second full-scale casino in Rhode Island, which would also be run by the state the same way Newport Grand and Twin River are, would give those facilities competition and make them both more efficient.” First of all, Wynn got run out of Foxborough, MA (even with Patriot’s owner Kraft’s help) because of potential traffic problems and local business concerns. Just think what a casino would do to traffic and business in Warwick on Post Road! I repeat, raising the quality of our casinos to all-in-one destinations is still a better answer.
4) Moore also suggests the need for a large hotel at Twin River. This I AGREE WITH, ABSOLUTELY. Get ’em there, keep ’em there.

5) Finally, he says, “I noticed that New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas all have plenty of entertainment and dining options yet all theaters and restaurants seem to have no problems coexisting. In fact, they make those places more of a tourist destination for people to flock to when they’re looking to have fun. Rhode Island would do very well to follow their example.”  REALLY?

  • Let’s compare, shall we? New York City – over 302 sq. miles. The entire state of Rhode Island is only a little more than 3X larger (1045 sq. miles). Population? Good question – NY over 8,000,000, RI over 1,000,000. No wonder all those options “coexist.”
  • And, Las Vegas? Well, Vegas population (those who live there) is just under 2,000,000, not counting the 36,000,000 that visit yearly. Coexistence is easy with those numbers, and still there is an amazing turnover of clubs and restaurants weekly, as well as show closings and local businesses closing – there is a transient entertainment ceiling to patron expectations.

Mr. Moore has the right idea. I like a guy who thinks out if the box – just not out of the universe.
Rhode Island should consider expansion and renovation to compete with CT and MA. They need to make Twin River a stay and play destination, and Newport Grand must become more integrated into the Newport vacation scene. Otherwise, the rich will get richer and…….well you know the rest.

That’s all for now. Let the Fireworks Begin!!!



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