Twin River Rages Against Rhode Island IGT Slot Machines Deal
Category : News
Twin River Worldwide Holdings, the parent company of Rhode Island’s two Twin River-branded casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton, has kicked off an ad campaign against the recently announced deal between the state and gambling machine manufacturer IGT, the Providence Journal reports.
A full-page ad on today’s edition of local news outlet The Sunday Journal aims to convince Rhode Island legislators that the $1 billion, no-bid, 20-year deal is bad for the state and its gambling industry.
The deal was secured late last month by Gov. Gina Raimondo. It was announced on the penultimate day of this year’s legislative session. The deal needs to be approved by both House and Senate lawmakers and they are expected to vote on it this fall.
If the proposed 20-year contract is approved by legislators, it would see IGT retain its exclusive right to operate traditional lottery games in the state and to provide 85% of the gambling machines at Rhode Island’s two casinos – Twin River Tiverton and Twin River Lincoln.
Under the terms of the no-bid deal, IGT will pay the state $25 million and will be required to employ 1,100 people from Rhode Island over the course of the deal. In addition, the gambling tech firm has agreed to invest $150 million in the state over the deal’s life. IGT will also upgrade Rhode Island’s digital lottery system, provide free updates, and upgrade the slot machines at the two casinos.
State Taxpayers Should Be Terrified of the Deal
Twin River Executive Vice President Marc Crisafulli said last week ahead of the start of his company’s ad campaign that state taxpayers “should be terrified by this deal” and that a potential $10 billion in state gambling revenue is at risk “due to the lack of [a bidding] process, the absence of any competition, the rushed nature of the deal… and the fact that the deal doesn’t seem to make any business sense.”
According to the executive, of all three companies that provide gambling machines to Twin River’s two casinos in Rhode Island, IGT finished last in the competition for gambling money last year. Mr. Crisafulli explained that over the past 12 months, IGT’s slots at the properties in Lincoln and Tiverton netted $258 per machine per day for an annual gambling yield of $94,000. The state trousered approximately $56,000.
However, machines provided by Everi netted $303 per machine per day for an annual of $110,000 per machine. The state kept $66,000. Scientific Games machines provided average $401 per machine per day for $146,000 annually from each of the company’s machines at the two Twin River casinos. The state collected an $87,000 share per machine annually.
Twin River’s ad condemning the deal reads:
“The Governor cannot side step Rhode Island’s purchasing law. She cannot enter into a no-bid contract without a vote of the Rhode Island House and Senate. We believe that this agreement is not in the interest of the Rhode Island tax payers. Over the next weeks, we will share with you our concerns and further explain why this is a bad idea.”
Mr. Crisafulli further elaborated last week that what the Governor has done would harm the state gambling industry’s potential to compete in the regional market that has seen the opening of three casinos in neighboring Massachusetts and could see the opening of a fourth one as well as of a third one in Connecticut.
According to the Twin River official, the 20-year IGT deal not only “does not help us to compete… it’s a burden that makes us less competitive.”
IGT and Rhode Island originally penned a 20-year deal in 2003, when the gambling machine manufacturer operated under the GTECH brand. Under that deal, GTECH agreed to pay Rhode Island $12.5 million and keep 1,000 employees in the state as well as to maintain a $65-million downtown Providence headquarters.
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