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October 01, 2020

Senate president expresses concerns over bill

Rhode Island Senate could block casino question

(US).- The proposed casino ballot question approved by Rhode Island's House Finance Committee could get stuck in the Senate. As the Rhode Island General Assembly were scrambling to wrap-up their session last week, the leaders of the House and Senate were expressing vastly different views about the controversial issue of casino expansion.

A

t issue, whether to let voters decide if table games should be allowed at Twin River in Lincoln, and Newport Grand in Newport. The two slot parlors currently generate about us$ 300 million a year in revenue for the state through video lottery terminals.

House Speaker Gordon Fox says that revenue could be threatened by talk of casinos being built in nearby Massachusetts. "They seem to be positioning those [casinos] to intercept the trade coming across the border to Lincoln and Newport," Speaker Fox tells Eyewitness News. "That tells me that we need to anticipate their moves."

While Fox was predicting that the full House would approved the casino referendum, Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed expressed concerns about the bill. "There are constitutional concerns, disclosure issues, who's involved, who is impacted."

She also raised questions about the race to beat Massachusetts to a casino. "Maybe [we should look] to see what in fact is the real story in Massachusetts, which I believe a lot of this conversation is being predicated upon."

The General Assembly was expected to wrap-up business Thursday night, and adjourn for the summer.

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