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Rhode Island Bill Would Bring Casino Gambling

Rhode Island lawmakers once again try to protect the revenue generated by gambling at two slot parlors, this time by considering allowing the venues to become full casinos.! A bill proposing that Rhode Island license full-fledged casino gambling is scheduled for debate next week. The measure would allow the expansion of gaming at the state's former dog racing venues from slots to include table games.

The future of the two facilities has been the subject of much discussion in the Rhode Island legislature. Both Twin River and Newport Grand have struggled under state requirements, leading to argument about everything from the racing calendar to hours of gaming.

Animal rights activists have succeeded in getting the votes necessary to abolish greyhound racing, even as lawmakers seek to secure jobs by expanding the number of required live racing days. Failure by the gambling venues to remain solvent has led to allowing twenty-four hour gaming, while some say the state is the cause for the economic strife at the slots parlors.

"Let's look at why the facility is in bankruptcy," said House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello last year in a debate about Twin River. "We (the state) take almost 62 cents out of every dollar out of the place. How is it suppose to survive?''

Loss of gambling dollars to Connecticut, and prospectively to Massachusetts, has the state thinking table games may be the answer.

"Now Massachusetts is knocking on the door, and it's something we have to look into and address and make a decision on how do we preserve what we have and expand it from a revenue perspective," said Representative Stephen Ucci.

Published on May 13, 2010 by A.J.Maldonado

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