The Rhode Island House of Representatives approved legislation clearing the way for construction of a hotel at or near the Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
The legislation was introduced by Rep. Jeremiah T. O’Grady (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket), and passed by the House. It is suppose to go to the Senate for consideration. The bill removes language from an existing state law prohibiting the casino from building a hotel, a prohibition intended arguably to help protect the viability of Providence-area hotels.
Declining profits in the gambling industry has forced casinos around the country to compete for a diminishing market share. Gaming in Southern New England remains dominated by the Pequots and the Mohegans. But, with the addition of table games, Twin River has improved its chances of remaining viable.
However, competition from Massachusetts is imminent.
Casino officials say a modest style of a Courtyard Marriott or Hampton Inn are under consideration. Cost of building the hotel is estimated at between $30 million and $35 million, with construction taking about a year.
Lincoln officials have not publicly commented and it’s unclear whether or not the bill will face opposition. What is clear is that a profitable Twin River can be good for Rhode Island. Moreover, casinos with on-site hotels are substantially more profitable than those without same.
Hopefully, the legislation passes and the Governor signs it but, it could get held-up for ransom. Time will tell but regretfully, time is running out on Rhode Island’s ability to compete in the New England casino industry.