Rhode Island - With the blessing of the governor
and the General Assembly, Newport
Grand is pressing ahead with its plans for 800 additional
video slot machines and a $20-million expansion that will
include a new hotel.
governor's office yesterday released a draft contract
Grand sent the state. The terms of the proposed agreement
reflect legislation approved by the General Assembly and
signed by Governor Carcieri on July 15.
bill will enable Newport
Grand to increase its video slots from 1,301 to 2,101
and guarantees its current tax rate for 10 years. In exchange,
Grand must follow through on its $20-million improvement
have had zero involvement in drafting that," said
Jeffrey Neal, spokesman for the governor. "And to
date, we have not even read it. We are simply in receipt
of it. The Department of Administration and the new Division
of Lotteries, in consultation with the governor's office,
will be working with representatives at Newport Grand
to draft and ultimately approve and sign a contract."
legislation benefiting Newport
Grand also allowed Lincoln Park to add 1,750 video
slots to the 3,002 it already has and froze its tax rate
for 15 years. The state has already signed an agreement
with Lincoln Park because of time constraints affecting
BLB Investors, the facility's prospective buyers.
BLB situation was unique because they were under a very
specific deadline," Neal said.
legislation proposed in the spring was originally intended
to benefit Lincoln Park alone. But Newport Grand quickly
followed suit, asking legislators for a similar tax pact
and unveiling expansion plans that it said such an agreement
would make possible.
proposed contract requires Newport
Grand to invest $20 million in "improvements,
renovations and additions" within three years. It
specifically mentions construction of "a hotel of
at least 90 rooms."
10-year contract freezes at 26 percent the amount of video
slot revenues Newport Grand must pay the state in taxes
for both its old and new machines.
agreement, like the one reached with Lincoln Park, also
Grand against any revenue losses it might experience
if another gaming facility opens in the state. This "slippage
protection" was added to the legislation at the eleventh
hour earlier this month and was intended to address Harrah's
continuing efforts to build a casino in West Warwick with
the Narragansett Indians.