PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Gov. Daniel McKee on Friday signed into law a new 20-year no-bid contract with International Game Technology and Bally's Corp. to run Rhode Island's gambling operations, the state's third largest source of revenue.
The deal boosts revenue, keeps jobs in the state and will spur development, he said at an open-air signing ceremony.
“This legislation represents $250 million in economic development that includes securing 1,100 well-paying jobs right here in Rhode Island," the Democratic governor said.
IGT will keep and expand its 1,100-strong workforce in Rhode Island, and Bally's — formerly Twin River Holdings — will expand the Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
Bally’s will pay the I-195 Commission for park renaming rights, and the companies are required to contribute at least $200,000 to problem-gambling programs.
The companies have also agreed to boost worker pay, a spokesperson said.
Republican lawmakers criticized the deal, saying it “epitomizes backroom dealing, corporate welfare, and crony capitalism."
The legislation overpays IGT and Bally’s by $800 million, they said, adding that the state is getting “ripped off” by accepting smaller percentages of table game and slot revenue than other states.
“To protect taxpayers, Governor McKee should do the responsible thing and negotiate a better deal,” they said.
The state would not have been able to get such a deal through a bidding process, Democratic President Dominick Ruggerio said.
IGT and Bally's had feuded in the past, but on January 2020 formed a partnership they said would maintain the state’s gambling revenue, enhance competitiveness with Massachusetts and Connecticut, and keep jobs in the state.
“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,'" said Jay Gendron head of lotteries for IGT.
The legislation is named after Bally’s top executive in Rhode Island, Marc Crisafulli, who has been battling cancer.
“It provided me such a boost, and gave me the positive energy I needed to take this on," he said.
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