Rhode Island General Assembly approves expanded gambling partnership with Bally’s and IGT

Expanded partnerships with IGT and Bally’s have been approved in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island General Assembly has approved a piece of legislation that will extend the state’s gambling partnership with International Game Technology (IGT) and Bally’s Corporation.

General Assembly approves expanded partnerships

Earlier this week, the state Senate voted 28-7 in favour of extending the partnership between the state, casino operator and gaming manufacturer, and lottery operator. This comes after the House of Representatives also approved the measure last month.

The legislation will now be sent to Governor Daniel McKee for final approval.

In a statement, the Assembly said that the legislation represents an economic development investment of more than $250m for the state and will help support the state’s third-largest revenue source.

House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi said: “The legislation increases revenue to our state and preserves critical jobs. Along with the Senate, we have taken several steps to enhance the legislation on behalf of the taxpayers.”

Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio said: “The Senate Finance Committee undertook an exhaustive review of this proposal and developed legislation that protects more than 1,000 jobs, guarantees significant capital investment and preserves the state’s third-largest revenue stream.”

What’s covered in the bill

The legislation will expand the existing partnerships between the state and the gambling businesses.

A key piece of the legislation will permit IGT and Bally’s to establish a joint venture that will operate as a licensed video lottery terminal (VLT) provider in Rhode Island. The business will then be allowed to supply all gaming machines to the state lottery.

IGT will have a majority 60% stake in the venture while Bally’s will hold the remaining 40%.

A minimum annual replacement cycle of VLTs will be set at 6%, however, there will be flexibility to replace up to 8% of VLTs in any year. There will also be a stipulation that at least 5% of VLTs must be premium machines.

Other parts of the legislation include a commitment for IGT to create at least 100 new jobs in Rhode Island. The business will be required to pay a penalty if it does not meet its employment target.

Bally’s will also create 30 new jobs by the end of 2022 and has agreed to invest $100m in the state. This will include a 50,000 square foot expansion of its casino facility in Lincoln.

If either business fails to deliver the new jobs, the liquidated damages for any missed jobs count will be set at $7,500 per job for both organisations.

Separate from the legislation, Bally’s and IGT have said they will raise the minimum wage for their Rhode Island employees to $13 per hour by the start of 2022, $14 per hour by January 2023, and $15 per hour by 2024.

The upfront payment made to the state will also increase from $25m to $27m, while IGT’s financial commitment to the state will be set at $155m.

Both businesses have agreed to keep their headquarters in Rhode Island’s capital until at least 2043.

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