hode Island Gov. Dan McKee signed a bill Friday that gives International Game Technology (IGT) and Twin River casinos owner Bally’s Corp. control of most of the state's gambling operations for the next 20 years.
In exchange for the 20-year contract extension, the new law commits IGT to expanding and keeping 1,100 employees in Rhode Island, investing $155 million in technology upgrades, and partnering with Bally's on a $100-million expansion of Twin River Casino in Lincoln. It also requires an upfront payment of $27 million.
The new joint venture between Bally's and IGT will create a licensed video lottery terminal (VLT) provider to supply all gaming machines to the Rhode Island Division of Lotteries for Bally's Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel. Under that joint venture, beginning July 1, Bally's will be responsible for owning and leasing 23% of gaming floor machines to the Rhode Island Division of Lotteries in exchange for 7% of net terminal income. Then, starting January 1, 2023, Bally's ownership stake will increase to 40%, subject to further increases based on machine efficiency.
"This is an economic-development success story that Rhode Island’s leaders should be proud of and should be able to say with confidence: 'Yes, we did this,'" said Jay Gendron, IGT's chief operating officer for global lottery operations, The Providence Journal reports.
"We kept more than 1,100 well-paying jobs here, brought in more than $250 million in investment, approved a $100-million renovation and expansion to protect the state’s third-largest source of revenue, and ensured not one, but two companies continue to operate right here in Rhode Island for the next 20 years. And all of this was accomplished during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. You have to tip your hat to the leadership of this state, who stepped up to make this happen,'' he said.
We signed the Marc A. Crisafulli Economic Development Act into law, securing 1,100 jobs and a $250M economic development investment in Rhode Island. Thank you @JoeShekarchi, @SenatorRuggerio, @IGTNews & @BallysCorp for coming together to strengthen this agreement. pic.twitter.com/ngMmXaP4N1— Governor Dan McKee (@GovDanMcKee) June 11, 2021
Per the basic terms, the state Lottery, which technically runs the two casinos along with sports betting and more traditional Lottery games, will pay:
Both House Speaker Joe Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio backed the deal once amendments were made last month, saying it’s critical to protecting local jobs and preserving one of the state’s largest revenue streams.
Some of the amendments include:
Bally's praised the passage of 2021-H 5223A and 2021-S 0040A in a statement Friday. George Papanier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bally's Corporation, said: "On behalf of Bally's Corporation, I would like to thank Governor McKee and the Rhode Island General Assembly for their continued support and commitment to the State's gaming industry. Rhode Island is where our roots are, and we could not be more excited to work alongside IGT and participate in a long-term endeavor that will increase industry competition, preserve and generate revenue, maintain and create new jobs, and provide exciting offerings for our valued customers.
Papanier continued: "We strongly believe that this economic investment plan will benefit Rhode Island's gaming industry and its competitive posture in a meaningful way. Gaming revenue is critical to the State, and through the proposed improvements, we intend to not only preserve, but increase, that revenue, which will generate positive returns for Rhode Island, its citizens and Bally's stakeholders."
The legislation is named after Bally’s top executive in Rhode Island, Marc Crisafulli, who has been battling cancer.
IGT and Bally’s had feuded in the past, but on January 2020 formed a partnership they said would maintain the state’s gambling revenue, enhance competitiveness with Massachusetts and Connecticut, and keep jobs in the state.