[toc]When MGM Springfield opens its doors in September 2018, the Massachusetts casino will be competing with not only Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, but also two casinos in Rhode Island.
There is the existing Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island. There is also a new casino project owned by the Twin River Management Group. That casino should open in July 2018 in Tiverton.
The Tiverton project is several years in the making, as Twin River keeps trying to sell Rhode Island voters on expanded gambling.
Twin River struggled to get voter support
Twin River’s first attempt at expansion occurred in 2012. A statewide referendum sought to allow Twin River Casino and a sister property in Newport, the Newport Grand, to add table games. Per Rhode Island law, the referendum needed to pass statewide and locally. Rhode Island and Lincoln voters said yes. However, Newport voters said no to expanded gaming at Newport Grand.
Last year, Twin River moved on to Phase 2, which involved the transfer of its Newport Grand license to a new, yet-to-be-built casino in Tiverton.
This time voters statewide and locally said yes to a new casino in Tiverton.
Will the smaller Rhode Island casinos hold their own?
Despite the accelerated timeline, the Tiverton casino will boast 1,000 slot machines, 30 table games, and an 80-room hotel.
The Tiverton casino will be located just across the Massachusetts border near Fall River.
The casino serves multiple purposes. First, it’s a huge upgrade in location and gaming options compared to Newport Grand – a converted jai alai venue.
In the bigger picture, it hopefully offsets the impact of Wynn Boston Harbor and any future Massachusetts casino in the southeast part of the state. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is waiting to determine that zone’s license until there is a decision on the proposed tribal casino in Taunton is decided. A decision that could take a while as it snakes through the government and courts.
Regardless, eventually the area will get a casino, tribal or commercial.
Twin River increases its Rhode Island footprint
The casino industry in the region tends to overlook Twin River in Lincoln. It shouldn’t be though. People should view the casino as a major force in the area. In recent years, the former dog track turned slots parlor added table games, including a poker room. It is also in the process of adding a hotel.
And the company will become a two-headed threat next summer, once the Tiverton project opens its doors.
Construction is set to begin by the end of the month, after the local planning board approved the preliminary construction plans last week. If the final plans get approval, the current timeline means the casino will open within a year.
Can’t compete with Wynn, but can still succeed
The Tiverton project isn’t the $2.4 billion destination resort that Wynn Boston Harbor will be. Nonetheless it should be a viable alternative for area residents that are heading to the casino just for the gamble.
If its anywhere near as successful as Twin River in Lincoln, Twin River Management will be very excited.