Twin River Table Games Campaign Spending Tops $2 Million
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Twin River has now spent more than $2 million on its campaign to convince voters to support allowing table games such as blackjack or craps at the Lincoln-based casino, according to a report filed with the Board of Elections Tuesday.
UTGR Inc., Twin River’s parent company, has spent $2,088,590 on its “Jobs to RI” campaign, which is being run by the RDW Group in Providence. In comparison, Newport Grand, which is also seeking to expand to table games, reported spending $114,035 as of Sept. 2.
According to the report, RDW has made $525,366 during the campaign as it consults with Twin River and helps with ad buys. Records show Andrew Caruolo, the son of former House Majority Leader George Caruolo has earned more than $31,000 in consulting fees. Twin River has also paid consulting fees of $155,000 to Los Angeles-based Winners & Associates as well as $70,000 to New Partner Consulting in Washington D.C.
State officials have continuously expressed concern over the impact casino gaming in Massachusetts will have on Rhode Island. The Bay State is set to build three resort-style casinos and a slot parlor over the next decade and experts have predicted that Rhode Island may suffer.
Gambling is Rhode Island’s third largest source of revenue. Estimate show that Twin River stands to generate $60 million annually in estimated table game revenue when fully operational. Newport Grand expects to generate $5 million each year.
In an statement to GoLocalProv earlier this year, Twin River spokesperson Patti Doyle said that the campaign has included more than just a significant amount of paid advertising, noting that board chairman John Taylor has also attended Rotary and Chamber of Commerce meetings from across the state, talking about the importance of approving the table game question in order to bring jobs to Rhode Island.
“The education campaign isn't just about the paid media,” Doyle said. “We've spent the summer months employing a street team of college students to be visible with education materials at a host of community events throughout the state.”
To date, very little opposition to the effort to bring table games to the state has emerged and no group has filed paper work with the board of elections to spend funds in opposition to full-fledged casinos in Rhode Island.
Still, Twin River may face one hurdle: John Cullen, the winner of last week’s Democratic primary in Senate District 17, had made defeating the casino referendum one of his top priorities. Cullen takes on Independent incumbent Ed O’Neill in November.
“I oppose creating a full-fledged Rhode Island Casino because gambling is not genuine economic development and it cannibalizes local businesses,” Cullen’s website states. “I encourage all District 17 voters to vote NO on the November casino referendum. I especially encourage all Lincoln voters to vote NO.”
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