PROVIDENCE – The House last week approved legislation that will allow casino-style games at the Newport Grand Slots gaming facility, pending approval by Newport and state voters.
The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration, where a companion bill is currently before the Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans’ Affairs.
If approved, the Newport Grand casino question would go before voters in the general election this November. Voters are also expected to face a question of approving casino-style, table games at Twin River in Lincoln.
Newport Grand currently hosts more than 1,000 video-slot machines, including line and reel games, poker, Keno and virtual blackjack tables.
The move came shortly after several Massachusetts Indian tribes announced that they will seek to build casinos in Bristol County.
According to The Herald News of Fall River, the Wampanoag Aquinnah tribe last week asked Fall River officials to schedule a referendum on a proposed casino in the city. The request came days after the state’s other federally recognized tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag, announced plans to seek a casino in Taunton.
Massachusetts’ new gaming law gives federally recognized tribes first shot at the sole casino license in southeastern Massachusetts. They would need to gain approval from voters in the host community and negotiate a compact with the state by July 1. •