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New report bolsters Twin River's push for table games

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: theday.com

Published February 08. 2011 3:18PM   Updated February 08. 2011 3:19PM

A new estimate of the economic benefits associated with adding table games at Twin River, the Lincoln, R.I., slots parlor, finds that such an upgrade would initially create 653 new jobs and generate an additional $23.8 million in state tax revenue.

John Taylor, chairman of Twin River’s board of directors, is expected to discuss the findings tonight during a keynote address to the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, which is holding its annual meeting at Twin River. Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other state officials are expected to attend.

According to an executive summary of the report, which was prepared for Twin River by The Innovation Group, a gaming-industry consultant, Twin River could eventually accommodate about 125 table games. Under an interim plan, 65 table games could be added without affecting the number of existing video-display terminals, or slots, the report says. A $5 million renovation would create 31 temporary construction jobs.

For the purposes of its analysis, the consultant assumed that revenue from table games — including blackjack, craps, roulette and poker — would be taxed at a rate of 12 percent. Twin River pays 62.7 percent of its slots revenue to the state, 7 percent to slots vendors and 2.5 percent for “central systems support,” which adds up to an effective tax rate of 72.2 percent, the summary says.

Twin River emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year under a reorganization plan that enabled it to cut a $600 million debt nearly in half. New owners of the facility have said its ability to compete with casinos in Connecticut and elsewhere is contingent on adding table games. Former Gov. Donald Carcieri vetoed a proposed ballot question last year on whether Twin River and Newport Grand in Newport should be converted into full-scale casinos.

Massachusetts lawmakers are also expected to renew their consideration of casinos this year.

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