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Raimondo Solicits Twin River, IGT for NGA Mtg & Pushed for Millions in Budget for Companies

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

 

Raimondo's team solicited an undisclosed amount from gambling interests

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo solicited tens of thousands of dollars in sponsorships from gaming companies Twin River and British gambling company IGT for the National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Meeting in Providence this week.

Raimondo’s office, her consultant Cara Cromwell, and the NGA however all refused to say how much Twin River, IGT, and others paid for the sponsorships -- and special access to the more than 30 Governors in attendance.

RI Budget, National Sponsorships

GoLocal has learned that while the Governor’s office and her consultant were negotiating special access and speaking engagements, the Governor’s legislative team had pushed a provision into the now stalled budget that shifts millions of dollars from the state coffers to Twin River and their gaming partner IGT - once Rhode Island’s GTECH.

As part of IGT’s sponsorship, Don Sweitzer, a long-time Democratic party operative and Chairman of IGT’s Global Solutions Corporation, will present to a Governors-only presentation this week. The title of the one-hour presentation is, “CEO Roundtable: Innovative Leadership Ideas that Work.” 

Don Sweitzer, IGT

Sweitzer was offered the position of Chief of Staff to Raimondo. He and his wife Sheri have donated more than $119,000 to Rhode Island state candidates, including $7,450 to Raimondo. 

Employees of IGT and its predecessor company GTECH have donated approximately $400,000 to candidates and elected officials in Rhode Island.

Simultaneous to Raimondo’s solicitation for sponsorship, the Raimondo administration was pushing a budget provision that provides millions to the gaming companies for ”marketing dollars” 

In 2016, the amount of “marketing dollars” was worth more than $50 million between Lincoln and Newport and if the budget passes with the Raimondo supported “marketing dollars,” Twin River could have $75 million or more to promote their two facilities when Tiverton comes online.

The amendments in Article 8 of the budget to the state's casino law, a complex agreement between the State and Twin River's parent company UTGR, if ever adopted both the casino operator and their partner IGT - will benefit from the changes.

If the budget passes Twin River realized a windfall of marketing assets funded by state taxpayers

Beyond IGT and Twin River

Only a select group of companies have unfettered access to Governors in attendance via an “Innovation Pavilion” located just outside the Governors' meeting area in the Rhode Island Convention Center.

The following companies are allowed to exhibit in the “Innovation Pavilion” — • Amgen • AT&T • CVS Health • Fidelity • General Dynamics • Intel • International Gaming Technologies (IGT) • Mars • Microsoft • National Grid • Raytheon • U.S. Communities.

 

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