In the November 8th ballots, Rhode Island residents were asked to vote on whether or not a new casino should be built in Tiverton. The casino was given the go-ahead on a state-level by 55% to 45%. On a local level, Question 8 passed by only 366 in favor of the casino – a narrow margin but still enough to see Twin River Management Group confirm that plans for Tiverton Casino were going ahead.
Twin River owns both of Rhode Island’s existing gaming facilities. With the building of the Tiverton Casino, it plans to shut its Newport Grand slots parlor. The slots facility already attracts many players from Massachusetts, and Tiverton’s new casino is planned for just 400 meters from the Massachusetts border.
The chairman of Twin River Management Group, John Taylor, said that the company was positioning the new casino closer to the markets it serves. “Being in Tiverton is much more proximate to where those customers are coming from,” he said.
Growing competition in the region means that gambling operators need to consider and then reconsider their business approach. The administrator of Tiverton, Matthew Wojcik said that everyone understands that “this is a chessboard and the players try to arrange the pieces to the best of their advantage.”
Tiverton, with a population of 15,000, is set to receive over $4 million each year if the casino is finally built. The modest casino will feature around 1,000 slot machines, 32 table games, dining options and a 3-storey hotel with 84 guest rooms. It will also bring in around $50 million in tax revenue for Rhode Island. The casino operators have promised that the building, set to be located off Route 24, will be built to blend in with the local architecture and will have the same façade as the town’s library.
There has been strong opposition to the idea of the a casino, although even opponents, such as the No Tiverton Casino group, recognize that gaming revenue will be lost to Massachusetts if the facility is not built.
“The problem is that we’re in the situation where we’re dependent on this industry,” said Mike Silvia, an organizer for No Tiverton Casino.
Proponents argue that the casino will create hundreds of jobs, beginning with construction work and then followed by part and full time positions for casino workers.