Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rep Says Rhode Island Needs Full-Fledged Casinos

Trying to beat Massachusetts to the punch, the state of Rhode Island may allow its two slot parlors to become full-fledged, 24-hour casinos in the future.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is expected to announce that state's casino plans later this week or next week while Rhode Island's existing slot parlors could be expanded, according to one state official.

The chair of the state general assembly's Permanent Joint Committee on State Lottery, Pawtucket Rep. William San Bento said "Absolutely, we have to head that way," according to the Pawtucket Times.

If Massachusettts allows casino gambling, San Bento said Rhode Island could lose half of its video lottery terminal (slot) revenue. "The only way to protect that is with a full-fledged casino."

A referendum would need to be approved by Rhode Island voters both state-wide and in the host city-town community in which a proposed casino would be located. A state-wide referendum for a Narrangansett casino in West Warwick was defeated last November.