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By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
DARTMOUTH – Massachusetts residents out visit and outspend Rhode Islanders at Ocean State slot parlors, according to a report by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
According to UMass Dartmouth’s annual New England Casino Gaming Update, released Wednesday, Massachusetts residents made 2 million visitations and spent an estimated $284 million at Rhode Island gaming facilities in 2011.
Bay Stater spending at Rhode Island’s two slot parlors - Twin River and Newport Grand – increased 16.75 percent in 2011 compared with 2010 levels.
This represented the largest increase in spending by residents of any New England state at the region’s slot parlors, according to the report.
“The robust increase in spending by Bay Staters occurred during a year when Massachusetts officials authorized the licensing of three destination resort casinos and one slot parlor in the state,” said the report.
A Massachusetts slot parlor is expected to begin operation in 2013, while the first casino is projected for late 2014.
Twin River revenue grew 9.2 percent in 2011, while Newport Grand revenue shrank by 6.2 percent.
“It’s impressive growth at Twin River, while Newport Grand continues to struggle,” Clyde W. Barrow, CFPA director said in prepared remarks.
The Lincoln slot parlor’s dependence on out-of-state patrons is an early warning sign to Rhode Island officials that “the status quo will be seriously threatened once Massachusetts casinos and a slot parlor open for business,” said the report.
The report found that a significant number of Massachusetts and Rhode Island gamblers prefer traveling to Connecticut’s resort casinos, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.
“Consequently, even with table games at Twin River and Newport Grand,” Barrow said, “it’s difficult to project either facility competing successfully against Massachusetts gaming venues unless Rhode Island’s slot parlors are developed into true destination resort casinos.”
In 2011, the two Rhode Island slot parlors had combined gross gaming revenue of $512.8 million, employed approximately 1,300 people, and paid $313.3 million to the Rhode Island general treasury (including gaming “taxes” and estimated sales and meals tax revenues), according to the report.
To view a full copy of the report, visit UMassD.edu.