Rhode Island looks into adding blackjack

Rhode Island’s two casinos currently only allow slot machines, but there has been a push to bring blackjack and other table games to the slot parlors. There is currently a bill in the state legislature that would allow expanded gambling options at one of those slot parlors, which could be big for the casino.

Representative William San Bento, who is chairman of the General Assembly’s Lottery Oversight Committee, introduced a bill that would allow the Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln, Rhode Island to add blackjack, roulette, poker and other table games. No mention is made of Newport Grand, the other slot parlor in the state.

Owners of the Twin River slot parlor are hopeful that the bill will pass, but I imagine their competitors at Newport Grand, who would be at a disadvantage, are not enthused. If they add blackjack and other table games, the casino could bring in additional $100 million in tax revenue for the state.

Several states recently have expanded their casinos to allow table games, including Pennsylvania and Florida, which only allows gambling at tribal casinos. In both states, the casinos saw big increases in attendance and earnings after adding the table games.

If the bill passes, it will create a public referendum, which would be placed on the November 2012 ballot. If the voters approve of adding table games to the casino, it would be signed into law and by 2013, the casino could begin adding blackjack and other high-draw casino games. It is unknown at this time how much support the bill has in the legislature.

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