News Flash – Rhode Island Gambling Update shows Rhode Island gambling ventures are in the news with a bullet these days. Competition from other New England casinos, sports betting, slot contracts, and now mobile sports betting keeps the Ocean state a-buzz with rumors, facts, and speculation. Here’s a Rhode Island Gambling Update to cover all the bases.
How can such a small state like Rhode Island have such big problems in the gambling-sphere? For years, Twin River Casino and then Newport Grand Slots just meandered along, improving little by little. Then, “BOOM” – Twin River adds a hotel, Newport is sold to TWMG and closed, only to be resurrected as a full-blown Hotel casino in Tiverton. How can Rhode Island have so much gambling changes in such a tiny state?
Sports Betting Going Mobile
These days, it’s all about sports betting. Another Rhode Island Gambling Update concerns the Ocean State residents and near-by state visitors. They might be able to sit on one of Rhode Island’s many beaches and bet the NFL, MLB, and other sports.
The state is facing a potential lawsuit claiming that the introduction of mobile sports betting is a constitutional violation. When sports betting was legalized in 2018, the General Assembly required gaming expansion only in two cities. Tiverton and Lincoln, where the state’s two casinos reside, are the only cities in Rhode Island that voted to legalize sports betting.
So what’s the big deal about this mobile app? While you must go in-person to a casino in Lincoln or Tiverton to set up an account, the app allows people to bet on sports across the state, which is much more than the G.A. approved.
According to Maia Rosenfeld of the Brown Daily Herald, “the lawsuit against the state, brought by former Providence GOP mayoral candidate Daniel Harrop, is arguing that the mobile betting app violates an article of the Rhode Island Constitution that gives residents the right to vote on any expansion of gambling.” “I do not consider this to be a case that has anything to do with betting or gambling,” Harrop said. “It’s an issue of rights and a constitutional issue.”
Slots Contract Problems
As reported earlier week by Miguel on Twitter, there’s a new kid in town – Camelot Lottery Solutions. Recently, they snatched management of the Illinois Lottery from an IGT-led consortium. Now, they want to bid on Rhode Island’s traditional lottery business if it becomes available. Together, the two companies say, they would hire 1,100 new Rhode Island workers to match those now employed by IGT (International Gaming), and Twin River would build a new headquarters of at least 50,000 square feet somewhere in the state while investing $50 million in Twin River’s casinos here.
This comes after a recent proposal by Twin River to employ 1,500 people in Rhode Island and make a $75-million upfront payment to the state to trump the $25 million payment in the IGT proposal. IGT has promised $75 million in Rhode Island spending over 20 years and agreed to keep its corporate headquarters in Providence, RI. The proposed contract extension would lock in IGT’s right to provide 85% of the slots, which doesn’t allow Twin River to put the optimum mix of best-performing machines on the floor.
Who makes the best slots?
IGT and many other companies supply the slots in brick-and-mortar casinos. Many of your favorites might not make it to the Twin River Casino Floor if IGT had their way. That would include:
- Scientific Games Corporation (SG)includes Bally’s, Williams & Shuffle Master games (Monopoly, Wizard of Oz
, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory , James Bond Series, Ultimate Fire Link, Lock It Link, 88 Fortunes to name a few.
- Ainsworth Game Technology –
- Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. – This is a big company, one of the tops suppliers around the world. The Buffalo series, Fast Cash, Dragon Link, Walking Dead, Lightning Link, Wonder 4 Series, Gold Bonanza, and many old favorites like Cashman.
- Aruze Gaming America Inc. – Ultra Stack Series (Panda) and 100 Lines Stack Series (Feature Rose), and the Tower Stack series
- Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. – Another big supplier across the country – China Shores, Lotus Land, Mayan Chief, Dragon’s Law, Lucky Honey Comb Twin Fever, Rock Around the Clock Series, Extra Reward Series, African Diamond Series,
- Multimedia Games Inc. (a subsidiary of EVERI Inc.) Carnival in Rio Series, Willie Nelson, Money Ball, High Voltage Blackout
- Novomatic Group of Companies
Unproductive Slots Part of Unproductive Month
Missing Konami and Aristocrat from any casino floor would disappoint patrons. But when the floor would be 85% IGT, a bigger problem may exist. The Rhode Island Lottery ordered the removal of 360 underperforming video slot machines from both casinos. They were all provided by IGT. To make matters worse, August proved to be financially gut-wrenching. Aug. 18 to 24 — Twin River Management Group saw a 20.58% drop in slot revenue from a year ago in a single week. Gambling in Rhode Island’s third-largest source of revenue. One big reason touted for the decline is the opening of Encore Boston Harbor.
Casino “Saturation” is once again being thrown around in New England. Rhode Island needs to get the sports betting mobile app settled to compete against the other casinos. A new hotel now seems underwhelming, with more needed to be done.