RIPEC: Mass. casinos are bad news for R.I. revenue

CASINO GAMING in the Bay State will likely negatively affect revenue for both Rhode Island’s casino operators and the state of Rhode Island itself, according to a new RIPEC report. For a larger version of these graphs, click HERE.
Posted 6/7/12

PROVIDENCE – Casino gaming in the Bay State will likely negatively affect revenue for both Rhode Island’s casino operators and the state of Rhode Island itself, according to a new report from the R.I. Public Expenditure Council.

The RIPEC report – Table Gaming in the Ocean State – was released Wednesday and analyzed the current structure of gaming in the Ocean State as well as the effect gaming in Massachusetts will have on Rhode Island’s revenue.

“It is clear that the state can no longer rely on gaming revenues to support the same share of government services once casinos open in Massachusetts,” said the RIPEC report.

The report went on to add that lawmakers should examine proposed legislation to see whether bills provide the operators of Twin River and Newport Grant the “opportunity to meet the challenges of increased cross-border competition.”

Currently, lottery revenue – including games, Keno and video lottery terminals – accounts for roughly 12 percent of the state’s general revenue, yet budget projections assume decreasing lottery receipts starting in 2015, based on the impact of Massachusetts casinos.

Rhode Island voters must pass a referendum this fall for the state’s two slot parlors - Twin River and Newport Grand – to allow casino gaming.

“The result of the referendum, and, specifically, the terms and conditions of the expansion will have far-reaching impacts on the state’s revenues and economy,” said the RIPEC report. Both the citizens of Lincoln and Newport, as well as the state, must pass the referendum.

The RIPEC report insisted that Rhode Island take a proactive approach to its economic future.

“The state can ill afford to jeopardize the survival of the two facilities by imposing an unsustainable effective tax rate that simply boosts revenues in the short-term, while ignoring long-term implications,” said the report adding that “thoughtful actions taken by the state today will allow Rhode Island to direct its own future instead of reacting to events beyond its control.”

For the full report, visit www.ripec.org.

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