Rhode Island Casinos Gamble on Delays

 

An artists rendering of the Tiverton Casino/ Hotel.

Rhode Island Has two casinos at this time, Twin River Casino in Lincoln and Newport Grand in Newport, RI.

It has always seemed that both Rhode Island casinos have flown under the radar in New England – TR without a hotel, and Newport with a seemingly death sentence in a year. To combat the competition from three sides in two states, Twin River Management group decided to improve it’s status in the region.

A BRIEF LOOK BACK

Originally built for greyhound racing, Twin River Casino is now a full casino.

Originally built for greyhound racing, Twin River Casino is now a full casino.

Lincoln Downs opened on July 7, 1947 – a dog racing track, accommodated 5,800 spectators in the grandstand, plus 2,000 more in the clubhouse and turf club.  Off-track parimutuel betting was approved, only to be diminished by the opening of Foxwoods in CT, 1992.  From that point, this property has fought for relevancy.  In 2007, after being bought by BBL Investors, (and being ignored by large casino industry reps MGM Mirage & Kerzner International) casino expansion included more gaming space, new amenities, and an Event Center, making the casino one of the top 5 largest casinos in the nation. Finding the battle with the CT casinos a tough climb, table games were approved by the legislature in 2012.  (Newport Grand was not approved for table games by the locals).

Which now all leads up to the latest news.

After the construction of Plainridge Park in Massachusetts as their first Mass. Casino two years ago, Twin River saw a slight dip in revenue and gamblers, but nothing to worry the present ownership, Twin River Management Group (TRMG). After all, they had plans of their own.

Here was the battle plan:

  • Buy Newport Grand – providing for future plans
  • Build a hotel – to attract gamblers to stay on property, attracting more out-of-state patrons.
  • Relocate Newport Grand to a new Hotel/Casino in Tiverton, RI. – offering a quick gambling option for southeast MA & RI.

HOTEL DELAY

Construction of a steel structure has begun on a parking garage, as well as the main casino building and hotel.  The casino and hotel are both now expected to be ready by Oct. 1, 2018.

DOUBLE THE COST

The estimated cost could reach $140 million, which almost double the original estimate of $75 million. The increase in cost is attributed to excavating the challenging topography in the area and changing plans to add an underground parking structure and making the casino floor 10,000 square feet larger.Chloe Leshner of ABC6 News, “The Twin River Management group says they had to nearly double their budget with plans to now invest $140 million into the hotel and casino that will replace the Newport Grand Casino. Obstacles with the land forcing project managers to change some of the plans, like building a parking garage instead of a flat lot. They say these adjustments address the environmental concerns many citizens had about the casino originally.” All of these changes are driving up the final price tag.  “The cost of this is born entirely by twin river management group, we received no state subsidies and no tax payer dollars are being used,” says John Taylor with Twin River Management Group.

 

WINDOW CLOSING?

NETG predicts they need to pursue an earlier opening, like Spring of 2018, if they want to also compete with MGM Springfield’s expected opening.  Plainridge is already showing signs of increasing a base of loyal gamblers, with the connection to Marquee Rewards of Penn National Gaming, providing more opportunities across the country.  TRMG only has the two properties in RI connected and lack a national appeal.  MGM Springfield large presence in New England provides even more opportunities for national visits through its MLife Rewards. Time is of the essence.  Rhode Island needs to blast through these setbacks if they tryly want a piece of the New England Gambling Pie, or only crumbs will be left.Binbin

NETime Gambling – 5 Top Posts From July

As the WSOP begins to wrap up, the great Doyle Brunson starts us off today with a gambling quote.  Now we know why he was THE  historic poker icon he was!

Another Sunday Morning, and another Sunday edition of 

“Weekly Posts You Missed”  

“Easy like Sunday Morning….”   As you open the paper, check your email, and relax with your cup of “Joe,” let your Sunday morning ritual include checking our past week’s posts.  SO, HERE ARE THE TOP 5 POSTS FROM THE PAST TWO WEEKS.

(Saturday, July 8th) Stadium Gaming Arrives at Foxwoods –  

“It’s been down to some extent for the last eight or nine months…We put in a high-speed slots floor with all the technology that entails. We laid tens of thousands of miles of cable, changed the carpet, changed a lot of the slots chairs, reconfigured our high-limit lounge and added our first electronic table game arena.” (Felix Rappaport, Foxwoods CEO)………..


(Monday, July 10th) Craps Players Have the Most Fun – 5 Reasons

….. here are five reasons craps players have more fun than any other table games.


 (Wednesday, July 12th) Momentum Players Club @ Mohegan Sun – Updated!

Here are some basics for Mohegan Sun’s Momentum Club.  Statistics are based personal experience and search,  vpFree2, and Mohegan Sun’s Momentum website…….


(Friday, July 14th) Old Slot Machines – Where Do They Go? 

So, as years go by, new slots take the place of older machines on the casino floor.  It begs the question, “Where Do the Old Slot Machines Go?”


(Saturday, July 15th) Twin River Casino Hotel Breaks Ground

Finally, Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island is starting to build it’s hotel – and none too soon!


Tomorrow, I look at another casino Players Club – Penn National’s “Marquee Rewards.”  Penn National Gaming has made some moves in recent years to make their players club unique in some ways and open to many more options than most other casinos in New England.  Check-in to see and compare to the others.

Binbin

 

 

 

Twin River Casino Hotel Breaks Ground

Artist rendering of Twin River Hotel, courtesy of WPRI.

Finally, Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island is starting to build it’s hotel – and none too soon!

For years, NETG (NETimeGambling) has been stating that Twin River needs a hotel.  Hampered by state pressure not to infringe upon the impact on Providence hotels (the capital of Providence is only 10 minutes away), TR’s hotel is already late to the party.  In March of 2015, Jennifer Bogdan of the Providence Journal reported that the bill sponsored by Rep. Jeremiah T. O’Grady, D-Lincoln, would remove a provision banning a hotel from the law that allows the casino to operate when the House voted unanimously to lift a restriction on hotel construction. The restriction reflected concerns of the Providence hotel industry that at one time feared competition. To compete with the likes of the CT casinos, Plainridge Park Casino over the border in Massachusetts, and New England’s casino jewel to be completed in 2019 in Wynn Boston Harbor, NETG has screamed at Twin River Management Group – “BUILD A HOTEL!”

Dignitaries break ground for a new hotel at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Courtesy of WJAR

Once again, Jennifer Bogdan of the Providence Journal (ProJo) was on top the story, reporting, “Twin River Casino broke ground Tuesday on a $25-million hotel that’s expected to open in June 2018. The project is roughly seven months behind the schedule the company discussed last year when the General Assembly passed legislation paving the way for the expansion project. John E. Taylor Jr., chairman of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, the casino’s parent company, said the delay was attributed in part to the company’s plans to build a new casino in Tiverton as that campaign required significant resources.”

Understandably, TRMG needed to get all its ducks in a row.  Now it’s time to put the pedal to the metal.

For years, Twin River hid under the shadows of the CT tribal casinos.  It’s progress to today has always seemed to be reactionary, with less publicity than most New England Casinos, and a Rewards Club that has more questions than answers to it’s members.

Twin River Casino. Larger than most people realize – two large casino floors

For those of you who are unaware, the facility has over 160,000 square feet of gaming space, with over 4,200 video slot machines and virtual table games, as well as 108 live table games, including a gaming mix of blackjack, roulette, craps, poker and more. Other amenities include an 29,000-square-foot event center, four restaurants, three food courts, several bars, and a racebook. Twin River offers both smoking and non-smoking casinos. In December 2015 Twin River opened its first poker room with 16 live cash games. (No tournaments) they offer No limit, limit,and stud games in various amounts. The poker room is open 24 hours.  Twin River should be considered the 4th largest “casino” in the country, right behind Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun. It’s probably the largest casino without a hotel attached! Imagine that New England has three of the largest casinos in the country!

Originally built for greyhound racing, Twin River Casino is now a full casino.

Originally built for greyhound racing, Twin River Casino is now a full casino.

Twin River as Lincoln Park before Major Expansion

Twin River as Lincoln Park before Major Expansion

But it’s journey to today was a long and arduous with numerous changes.  In 1947, Lincoln Downs opened as a horse racing track.  Closed in 1976, it was bought and turned into Lincoln Greyhound Park, beginning its first season of greyhound racing in June 1977. Parimutuel betting was introduced in 1991, only to see a vast decrease in revenue due to the opening of Foxwoods in CT.  Rhode Island authorized video lottery terminals with poker and blackjack games to be installed at Lincoln Park, eventually totaling 900 by 1993.  But these class II machines did not cut into the competition southwest where Las Vegas style slots (class III) were installed at Foxwoods, and now Mohegan Sun.

To make a long story shorter, a $220 million expansion began by it’s new owner, in 2007 and renamed it “Twin River Casino.”  Table games were added in 2013 as a reaction to compete with CT casinos, Newport Grand was purchased by TRMG in 2015, and the rest is history.

Back to Jennifer Bogdan’s report. “Construction of the four-story, 135-room hotel with a pool, fitness center and spa, will take place under the general contractor Excell Construction Corp., of East Greenwich; A/Z Corp. of North Stonington, Connecticut and North Kingstown is the construction manager. JCJ Architecture, which designed the Twin River Casino and the pending Tiverton casino, is the design and architectural firm. It won’t be a tower like hotels at Connecticut casinos Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, Twin River officials said. The hotel will only be four stories tall, to match the height of the currently standing building. In addition to guest rooms, the hotel will offer a spa, pool and fitness center, outdoor patio and function space, boardrooms, and valet parking.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said, ““The hotel will help set the facility apart in today’s competitive gaming environment, protecting thousands of Rhode Island jobs and adding new jobs at the hotel and in the construction industry, while also protecting a vital source of revenue for the state.”  (Sound familiar, Connecticut?)

We applaud Twin River for taking our insightful recommendations.  I’m sure a hotel would not have come to fruition without NETG’s constant lobbying.  We’re glad we had a hand in the process!

Ok, I understand others had a lot to do with it. Maybe I’d like to just get credit for recognizing the need 5 years ago when we started NETimeGambling.

Maybe even a sticker that says “good job” ????

 

Binbin