Farewell, Newport Grand – A Look Back

Yes, it’s small and it doesn’t take long to look around each floor.

Yes, the outside looks more like a warehouse than a casino, but renovations over the years tried to keep the vision of a classy casino in Newport was kept alive.

Before Twin River Management bought it over a year ago, it was a family operation – owned and managed by CEO Diane Hurley.

Quiet morning at Newport Grand

The building now known as Newport Grand has struggled to be more relevant in a city that never really wanted it there.

Thirty years ago, the 3,000 seat Newport Grand Jai Alai fronton was packed with fans who came to wager on the legendary Saez and other players.  Then, VLT’s were added to make it part casino, but the games were nothing like those you’d see in casinos now.

I remember those days.  I would visit greyhound racing in Plainfield, CT as well as Hartford and Newport Jai Alai. The game of Jai Alai was impressive to watch with the pelota being hurled at the three-sided wall at over 130 MPH. But betting on humans always made me leery.

Inside the fronton, team matches underway.

It’s recent past disappointments included:

  • The addition of tables games voted down by the city of Newport (at the time under Hurley ownership) while  Lincoln RI approved tables games for Twin River casino.
  • The renovation and expansion of Newport Grand, with table games denied by Newport.
  • Mayor Paolino led a push for voter approval of table games at Newport Grand last year leading up to the November election. Newport voters rejected two ballot questions that would have paved the way for the slot parlor to evolve into a full-fledged casino, converting the existing building into a luxury, Monte Carlo-esque high end resort with entertainment.
  • Finally, TRM bought Newport with the intentions of moving operations to Tiverton as a new full casino with hotel to compete with Massachusetts casino expansion, namely Plainridge Park Racino just over the border in Plainville, MA.

So, we will be bidding adieu to this warehouse-like building, some say by the end of June.  It is expected to be flattened.  But, I will remember it fondly, even though it was never all it could been. Adios.

Binbin

Newport Grand Casino – The Last Hurrah?

RI correspondent Miguel and I took a break from the July 4th celebration to visit the Newport Grand Slots casino in Newport, Rhode Island.

Yes, it’s small and it doesn’t take long to look around each floor. Yes, the outside looks more like a warehouse than a casino, but renovations over the years tried to keep the vision of a classy casino in Newport was kept alive. Before Twin River Management bought it over a year ago, it was a family operation – owned and managed by CEO Diane Hurley.

Quiet morning at Newport Grand

The building now known as Newport Grand has struggled to be more relevant in a city that never really wanted it there.  It’s recent past disappointments included:

  • The addition of tables games voted down by the city of Newport (at the time under Hurley ownership) while  Lincoln RI approved tables games for Twin River casino.
  • The renovation and expansion of Newport Grand, with table games denied by Newport. See our previous post covering this Newport Grand City Agreement Negated
  • Finally, TRM bought Newport with the intentions of moving operations to Tiverton as a new full casino with hotel to compete with Massachusetts casino expansion, namely Plainridge Park Racino just over the border in Plainville, MA.

According to staff, the facility should close by mid-summer of 2018.

Newport Grand entrance

Upon entering, we wondered if it was open.  We were greeted by friendly staff, received our rewards card, and we were on our way, basically having the place to ourselves.

It has 3 floors – a 2nd floor smoking-allowed slot area, 1st floor for non-smoking gaming and lower floor that includes some slots, the Grille, and a bar featuring standard and some RI craft brews.

Non smoking main floor

Did I mention it was small?  Listed as the third smallest of New England’s casinos, it just might be the smallest.  It was obvious to us that the 1000 slots couldn’t be a true number with three small rooms on the lower level unused and a more spacious main floor.

Upstairs smoking casino

GAMING – while they have many new slots, there is also a treasure trove of nostalgic machines, including many of the VLT from the Jai Alai transition days.  I counted 8 (yes, only 8) video poker machines, 6 multi-game with horrible pay tables and two Ultimate X. Don’t go to Newport Grand for video poker.  The best game offered is 7/5 DDB on Ultimate X.  There are also two of the older electronic Blackjack terminals, back to back, with a total of 10 seats.  We did not see a High Limit area, but higher denomination slots are mixed in.

Newport Grand Casino Event Center

Newport Grand Casino Event Center

ENTERTAINMENT – on the weekends, Newport Grand still offers great tribute bands with some comedy acts as well in the Event Center.  In the lounge downstairs, small combos still perform, as karaoke & trivia is still offered some week days.

CONCLUSION – We had a fun day at the casino on Independance Day.  But, it was a little sad, too.  There is no signage of the impending move, or even the change of ownership.  The Twin River and Newport Grand rewards programs are not linked together, which would be an un-needed expense.  I know that the new property in Tiverton will be a great addition to the casino landscape in New England.  But at this time, the little casino that “could’ve been” is in a state of limbo – supported by its loyal local patrons and continued good service by the staff.  But the inevitable end is in the air at Newport Grand.  The ghosts of slots and Jai Alai past will soon be the only inhabitants in this building.

As the sun sets on Newport Grand Slots

Take time to visit just once.  It’s not the Riviera of Las Vegas, but it’s a piece of history in New England.

 

 

 

Halloween is Happening in New England’s Casinos

Halloween

Halloween at the Casino

 

Yeah, I know – Halloween is a popular event (I refuse to raise it to the level of Holiday). This post was previously posted a week ago and has had some additions.
Please note: As always, check for daily updates and news from New England’s seven casinos through our Menu links above and additional promo info on NE Time Gambling on Twitter!

 

MOHEGAN SUN RESORT CASINO, UNCASVILLE, CONNECTICUT

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, Uncasville CT

Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, Uncasville CT

AVALON Saints & Sinners Party
It’s good versus evil at AVALON during the Saints & Sinners Party on Halloween night. Find you inner angel or don those devil horns; best dressed Sinner and best dressed Saint each take home a ghoulish grand prize. DJ St. Clair drops the hottest Halloween beats for what is sure to be the Halloween party you won’t want to miss.

Doors open at 9:00pm. Ladies free until 10:00pm. Free cover for those costumed in the Saints & Sinners theme. Men not costumed to the theme pay $20.00, ladies not costumed to the theme pay $10.00.

Orange Party at VISTA
It’s a penitentiary party at VISTA on Halloween featuring  a DJ set by Taryn Manning, the notorious inmate ”Pennsatucky” on the Emmy nominated Netflix series Orange Is The New Black. The ‘behind the bars’ bash begins at 9:00pm with no cover all night long.

Face paint and masks are prohibited on the gaming floor.  Must be 21+ with a valid ID.  Admission subject to management discretion.

Header-Rocky_Horror-628x378The Rocky Horror Picture Show
On Saturday, October 31st, the Teseracte Players return to Mohegan Sun for a spooktacular screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Watch the characters come to life inside The Cabaret Theatre at 11:30pm. Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free; all guests attending must be 21 years or older.

Halloween 2015 at MIST
It’s a battle for best costume on Halloween night at MIST featuring music by Jay Dabhi. Think outside the ‘boo’ box for this no cover, costume contest and you may pocket the biggest prize of the night. The most original costume and sexiest costume each take home $500.00, the best overall costume scores $1,000.00!

Face paint and masks are prohibited on the gaming floor.  Must be 21+ with a valid ID.  Admission subject to management discretion.

Costume Party at The Lansdowne Irish Pub & Music House
Whether you choose to be a ghost, a demon, a vampire or a mouse…duh, The Lansdowne Irish Pub & Music House is the place to be on Halloween. This Halloween costume party is sure to be hauntingly hot with the best music from DJ Crib 9:00pm – 2:00am.

The Haunted House
The fright fest at Mohegan Sun starts early with a Haunted House open Wednesday, October 28th through Sunday, November 1st. Journey into The Shops concourse and take a chilling trek through the Haunted House for a killer time . . . if you dare.

Hash House A Go Go
Saturday, October 31st – Giant Hash House A Go Go Halloween Flapjack: HHAGG’s tasty pumpkin pancake drizzled with cream cheese frosting, served all day for just $9.99. And special surprises for the kids!

Pasta Vita – Featured dishes for fall:

– Pumpkin ravioli ($10)
– Pumpkin pound cake ($8)
– Apple spice pound cake ($8)
– Pumpkin cupcakes ($10)
– Pumpkin cannoli with chocolate dipped shell ($14)

Foxwoods Resort Casino, Masnantucket CT

Foxwoods Resort Casino, Masnantucket CT

FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO, MASHENTUCKET, CONNECTICUT

 

  1. Pumpkin Carving at 11:00AM & 5:00PMWickedHalloween
  2. Wicked Halloween comes to Foxwoods CT Premier Ballroom on Saturday October 31st featuring Steve Aoki & SHAQ, aka DJ Diesel, plus special guests. The event will be a next level Halloween experience with costumed performers, themed decor and incredible sound, lights and special effects. Costumes are encouraged (no masks or weaponry). VIP entry includes:VIP viewing area, Merchandise Bag, VIP express entry, Free Entry to the afterparty at Shrine. Must be 18 or older. Doors open at 8:15
  3. Scorpion Bar – Day of the Dead Halloween Party.  Starts at 9:00PM

 

OXFORD CASINO, OXFORD MAINE 

Oxford Casino, Oxford Maine

  1. Halloween Buffet, Saturday, October 31 from 10:30am – 3:00pm.   $9.95 per person.
  2. Halloween T-Shirt Giveaway, Saturday, October 31, 2015.  Beginning at 8:00AM be one of the first 500 Oxford Rewards Club members to visit a promotional kiosk and you will receive a voucher for a FREE, limited edition Halloween T-Shirt.

Halloween-Casino-2

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

Hollywood Casino, Bangor Maine

HOLLYWOOD CASINO, HOTEL & RACEWAY, BANGOR MAINE

HAUNTED WHEEL, Saturday, October 31 from 1PM – 4PM, you could be the lucky winner of up to $900 Free SlotPlay®! Play with your Marquee Rewards® card for your chance to spin the Haunted Wheel! 2 winners will be drawn every 15 minutes.

Also, end-of-the-month Drink Specials include “Jack” & Coke, Toasted Almond, both for $4.

In the Sound Stage – Time Pilots (50’s to Today’s Hits) – 9PM

Plainridge Park Casino, Plainville MA

Plainridge Park Casino, Plainville MA

PLAINRIDGE PARK CASINO, PLAINVILLE, MASSACHUSETTS

Spooktacular Free Slot Play – Come get spooked this Halloween, October 31 2015, at the Plainridge Park Casino Spooktacular Free SLOTPLAY. We are giving out ten treats every half hour of $500 Free SLOTPLAYbetween 7:00pm – 10:30pm. And at 11pm, the biggest treat of all, ten winners of $1000 Free SLOTPLAY.

Twin River Casino, Lincoln RI

Twin River Casino, Lincoln RI

TWIN RIVER CASINO, LINCOLN, RHODE ISLAND

$100,000 Cash Spooky Sweepstakes; Saturday, October 31  12pm – 12am | Two drawings every half-hour.  Twin River Rewards Club members will be eligible to receive one free entry into this promotion by simply inserting their Rewards Card into any Promotion Kiosk or any eligible VLT. As an added bonus, all guests qualify for accelerated entry earnings where for every 100 points earned on the VLTs on October 31, guests will receive one additional entry. To participate, guests must simply “check in” by inserting their Twin River Rewards Card into any Promotion Kiosk or by having their card inserted into any eligible VLT on the drawing day. Starting at 12pm, two drawings will take place every half-hour until 12am for a chance to win a cash prize ranging from $500 – $5,000.

Also, in Rhodehouse Live! – Scareoked, Saturday, October 31, 2015 7:00pm. Dress like your favorite pop or rock star & win prizes!  *No masks, hoods, hats, or sunglasses can be worn while on the casino floor.

NETG PICK SIX – THIS WEEK’S CHOICE NEW ENGLAND CASINO PROMOTIONS – It’s All About the Multipliers, June 7 – 12

NETIME LOGO (2)imgbbpick6Sunday’s blog will be called the “NETG (NE Time Gambling) PICK SIX.”  Every Sunday night I will highlight one of, or the best, promotion of the week in each New England Casino.  Here are my picks for this week:

FOCUS OF THIS WEEK – Point Multiplier Promotions 

HOLLYWOOD CASINO, HOTEL & RACEWAY

Sundays & Fridays in June, earn bonus Tier Points by simply playing with your Marquee Rewards card in any slot machine! 2X points for Marquee Rewards, Celebrities & Producers. 3X points for Executive Producers. 4X points for Icons.

OXFORD CASINO

15X Points every Thursday! Bonus points for every point earned playing slot machines from 6PM – 10PM every Thursday! Excludes Video Poker.

(NETG has ONE question for Oxford – Why not include Video Poker? You’re pay tables are bad, so what does it matter? Isn’t anyone who visits Oxford asking the same question?  Maybe, their slots payout %  is even lower than most other casinos?)

TWIN RIVER CASINO

If you have a multiplier this month at TwinRiver, remember that you have to RSVP the day ahead of time.  (I truly know of no other casino across the country that has RSVP for monthly multiplier days.  If anyone else knows of such a place, please email NE Time Gambling or join our community and let me know.)

NEWPORT GRAND CASINO

5X points Tuesdays. Hours: During regular gaming hours (10:00 a.m. – 12:59 a.m.) Date: JUNE 02, 09, 16, 23 & 30 2015

FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO

10X Odds on Craps (no Vig) continues to be a favorite for craps players. But the BIGGEST addition is their newly designed website.  In my opinion, it is vastly improved!  Check it out.

MOHEGAN SUN RESORT CASINO

2X momentum Points (not Status points) – MONDAYS, starting JUNE 15TH – AUGUST 31ST
6:00AM – MIDNIGHT

June 23 – 3X Status points

 

That’s all for now.

Binbin

NETG Pick Six – 6 New England Casinos This Week’s Promotion

A NEW Weekly event is started tonight.  Sunday’s blog will be called the “NETG (NE Time Gambling) PICK SIX.”  Every Sunday night I will highlight one of, or the best, promotion of the week in each New England Casino.  So, his the first installation:

HOLLYWOOD CASINO, HOTEL & RACEWAY

50+ Rewards Hot Seat Slot Tournament – Monday, May 11 & 25 from 1PM – 4PM you could be the lucky winner of up to $500 Free SlotPlay! Play with your Marquee Rewards card for your chance to participate in a 50 Plus Rewards Hot Seat Slot Tournament. 15 Players will participate in a tournament every half hour. The top 15 scores overall will win up to $500 Free SlotPlay! *Exclusive to our members age 50 and above.

OXFORD CASINO

Spin O Rama – Saturday, May 16 from 3:00pm to 8:00pm.  Every half hour, one lucky winner will be chosen to take a spin at winning UP TO $6,000 IN CASH! Visit a Promotional Kiosk beginning at 1:00PM to enter.

TWIN RIVER CASINO

$200,000 Bonus Play Sweepstakes continues through to Memorial Day Weekend! – Twin River Rewards Club members will be eligible to receive one free entry into this promotion by simply inserting their Rewards Card into any one of our Promotion Kiosks or any eligible VLT. As an added bonus, all guests qualify for accelerated entry earnings where for every 100 points earned on the VLTs during the earning period, guests will receive one additional entry! Starting at 12pm, one drawing will take place every hour until 9pm for a chance to win a $5,000 Bonus Play prize! Earn drawing entries now until Memorial Day weekend.

NEWPORT GRAND CASINO

WINDY WEDNESDAY WINNINGS – It’s the Money Booth! – May 13th, from 4:00 – 7:00pm. You may be selected to take at chance in the Money Booth while playing slots.  30 seconds in the booth and you can win Cash & Free Slot Play.  Participants selected every 30 seconds!

FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO

HOT SEAT SWEEPSTAKES – WIN YOUR SHARE OF OVER $150,000 IN PRIZES – May 11–15 from 2– 8pm.Every 30 minutes they randomly choose one guest playing on any slot machine or table game with their Foxwoods Reward Card. From 2pm until 8pm, the lucky guest will win $1,000 instantly. If you are in the seat to the left and to the right of the winners, you will also win a prize!

MOHEGAN SUN RESORT CASINO

THE SURPRIZE PATROL! – EVERY THURSDAY IN MAY, BETWEEN NOON – 8:00PM.You have THREE chances to WIN BIG! Each Thursday, Mohegan Sun’s SurPrize Patrol will randomly award THREE table games players $2,500 in CASH! Plus, any Momentum members playing at the same table as the winner will each receive a $75 Mobil Gas gift card!

That’s all for now.

Binbin