PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Narragansett Indian Tribe has been harmed by the state opening table games at Twin River Casino and allowed the tribe’s lawsuit against the gambling expansion to proceed.
The tribe is challenging the 2011 and 2012 laws that cleared the way for table games at Twin River on grounds they violate the Rhode Island Constitution, with the state claiming the tribe lacked standing to bring the suit.
Upholding a Superior Court decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the loss of 200 video slot machines at Twin River – which the tribe receives a share of proceeds from – as part of the table-game expansion will negatively impact the tribe, giving it standing to challenge the gaming expansion.
The tribe receives 0.17 percent of video slot revenue under state law.
“We conclude that it is reasonable to expect that a consequence of there being 200 fewer VLT machines may well be a reduction in the net terminal income from the machines,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Gilbert V. Indeglia in the court’s decision. “While the lure of the table games at Twin River might cause some new patrons to also try their luck at the VLT machines, these new patrons will have significantly fewer machines at which they might play.”