Rhode Island signs IGT-Bally’s gambling legislation into law

Gambling legislation has been signed into Rhode Island state law by Governor Dan McKee, reinforcing the state’s agreement with IGT and Bally’s Corporation.
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Gambling legislation has been signed into Rhode Island state law by Governor Dan McKee, reinforcing the Ocean State’s agreement with IGT and Bally’s Corporation.

Sponsored by House Speaker K Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, the Marc A Crisafulli Economic Development Act represents a $250m economic development plan that proactively protects the state’s third-largest revenue source.

The partnership is expected to create excellent economic development opportunities and benefits for Rhode Islanders, including securing 1,100 jobs at IGT, extensive renovation and expansion to Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln, and thorough technological upgrades.

It will establish a 20-year joint venture between Bally’s and IGT that will create a licensed video lottery terminal provider to supply all gaming machines to the Rhode Island Division of Lotteries for Bally’s Twin River Casino Hotel and Tiverton Casino Hotel.

Under that joint venture, beginning July 1, Bally’s will be responsible for owning and leasing 23% of gaming floor machines to the division in exchange for 7% of net terminal income. Commencing on January 1, 2023, Bally’s ownership stake will increase to 40%, subject to further increases based on machine efficiency.

Jay Gendron, COO, Lottery, IGT, stated: “This is an economic development success story that Rhode Island’s leaders should be proud of and should be able to say with confidence: ‘Yes, we did this’.

“We kept more than 1,100 well-paying jobs here; brought in more than $250m in investment; approved a $100m renovation and expansion to protect the state’s third-largest source of revenue; and ensured not one, but two companies continue to operate right here in Rhode Island for the next 20 years. And all of this was accomplished during a once in a lifetime pandemic. You have to tip your hat to the leadership of this state who stepped up to make this happen.”

The Rhode Island General Assembly approved the amended legislation to reinforce the state’s agreement with IGT and Bally’s earlier this month.

George Papanier, President and CEO of Bally’s, commented: “On behalf of Bally’s Corporation, I would like to thank Governor McKee and the Rhode Island General Assembly for their continued support and commitment to the state’s gaming industry.

“Rhode Island is where our roots are, and we could not be more excited to work alongside IGT and participate in a long-term endeavour that will increase industry competition, preserve and generate revenue, maintain and create new jobs, and provide exciting offerings for our valued customers.

“We strongly believe that this economic investment plan will benefit Rhode Island’s gaming industry and its competitive posture in a meaningful way. Gaming revenue is critical to the state, and through the proposed improvements, we intend to not only preserve, but increase, that revenue, which will generate positive returns for Rhode Island, its citizens and Bally’s stakeholders.”

Governor McKee added: “This agreement has been dramatically improved since first being introduced in 2019. This deal secures additional economic development benefits for Rhode Island, better wages for Rhode Island workers, and enhances our gaming competitiveness. We thank our local partners for coming together to finalise this agreement.

“This is not only an important source of revenue for our state but employs thousands of Rhode Islanders and provides a great reason to visit Rhode Island. I thank the Speaker and Senate President for their leadership in enhancing this proposal.”

The Rhode Island Division of Lotteries will continue to maintain regulation of all gaming, with all aspects of the lottery and gaming programs to remain state-operated.

The legislation has been named the Marc A Crisafulli Economic Development Act to honour the Executive VP of Bally’s, who is battling cancer.