McKee signs 20-year lottery contract for IGT, Bally’s

GOV. DANIEL J. MCKEE signed a 20-year agreement with IGT and Bally's to operate the state's gambling services. / PBN FILE PHOTO/CASSIUS SHUMAN
GOV. DANIEL J. MCKEE signed a 20-year agreement with IGT and Bally's to operate the state's gambling services. / PBN FILE PHOTO/CASSIUS SHUMAN

PROVIDENCE – Gov. Daniel J. McKee has signed legislation establishing a 20-year lottery contract with International Game Technology PLC and Bally’s Corp. that will see the two companies run state-sponsored gambling services in Rhode Island.

The 20-year agreement would require IGT to pay the R.I. Department of Revenue $27 million, of which $13.5 million is due by June 30, 2023, and $13.5 million is due by June 30, 2024, for the right to be the exclusive provider of products and services related to the state-sponsored gambling operations.

“Today is about jobs and how important jobs are to Rhode Island, how important good jobs are to Rhode Island,” said McKee Friday, noting that the bill will keep 1,100 good-paying jobs in the state and that it had “been dramatically improved since it was first introduced.”

“We normally have this first in, last out. Today is a step forward so that we will not be the first in, last out,” McKee said. He also cited Rhode Island’s high ranking on CNN’s indicator developed with Moody’s Analytics to measure the state’s progress in recovering from the pandemic. Rhode Island is ranked highest in New England, at No. 7 in the U.S. as of Thursday.

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Per the agreement, the Department of Revenue would be obligated to compensate IGT with 5% of annual sales up to $250 million; 4% for sales between $250 million and $400 million; and 5% for sales greater than $400 million.

IGT holds a 60% majority interest in the venture, while Bally’s Corp. is entitled to 40% of the operation.

Bally’s would pay $250,000 in the first year, $150,000 in the second year and $100,000 thereafter, for “renaming rights” to an I-195 Redevelopment District Commission park.

IGT would be required to create 1,100 jobs in the state for the exclusive control of the state’s gambling system. It obligates Bally’s Corp. to employ no fewer than 30 new senior management employees at a corporate headquarters in the state by Dec. 31, 2022.

IGT and Bally’s Corp. would incur a $7,500 penalty for each job that they failed to employ under the terms of the agreement.

The legislation also calls for Bally’s Corp. to expand its Lincoln casino by 50,000 square feet at a cost of $100 million, and obligates the company to lease at least 20,000 square feet of commercial space in Providence through the extended expiration date of 2043.

IGT and Bally’s must maintain headquarters in Providence through 2043, when the agreement is set to expire.

“This didn’t just happen overnight; this started in about June 2019,” said Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio at the signing Friday. “[The Senate] took 26 hours of testimony in the summer and the fall of that year, and then they crafted legislation,” which he called the foundation of the legislation signed Friday.

Both Ruggerio and McKee acknowledged that House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi had a big hand in amending the legislation “into a better bill.”

“There was never a doubt in my mind that we would be here today. … We would never let these two titans not stay in Rhode Island and prosper,” said Shekarchi. “We look forward to the success of both of these great companies to continue for the next 20 years and beyond.”

Bally’s Corp. owns and manages 13 casinos in eight states, a horse racetrack and 13 authorized off-track betting licenses in Colorado. With more than 6,000 employees, the company’s operations include 13,308 slot machines, 460 game tables and 3,342 hotel rooms.

International Game Technology PLC, formerly Gtech S.p.A. and Lottomatica S.p.A., is a multinational gambling company that produces slot machines and gambling technology. The company is headquartered in London, with offices in Rome, Providence and Las Vegas.

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