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Voters Will Decide on Table Games at Newport Grand — Again

The Newport City Council voted 4-3 to approve a resolution that will ask the General Assembly to but a table game question on the local ballot this November.

Newporters will decide whether or not table games will be allowed at Newport Grand after a 4-3 vote by the City Council last night.

The vote approved a measure asking the General Assembly to put a resolution on the ballot asking Newporters to approve or deny table games at the facility, just two years after the same question was rejected.

The vote by the City Council ensures a team of investors hoping to turn the former Newport Jai Alai into a high-end casino will get a chance to promote their plans for a few more months.

The investors include Joseph Paolino, the former mayor of Providence, who said in a statement last night that they are "encouraged" by the vote and look forward to work with the General Assembly to ensure passage there as well.

"Our vision for Newport Grand is clear – we are committed to saving hundreds of jobs and creating even more, developing a space that suits the character of the community, and bolstering the city and state’s economy. We are ready to share our vision with the voters," he said.

The vote came after lengthy testimony — including previous meetings before last night — both for and against the casino.

More details and comments from both sides of the discussion last night will be posted soon. 


George Costanza May 29, 2014 at 09:57 PM
Why is JOE PAOLINO, who has spent his entire life developing RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE interested in developing a casino for the FIRST time in his ENTIRE LIFE??? He Isn't........... He will buy the casino and the land, in 5-10 years the casino will "go bankrupt" and he will propose a plan for a massive mixed condo development. Newport is in dire need for low income housing units. Casinos are going bankrupt, go figure. I feel bad for all these casino workers who came to City Hall last night believing what this guy is selling.
Gordon May 30, 2014 at 07:47 AM
WHo actually voted for and against ?
Louise B May 30, 2014 at 09:37 AM
For: Winthrop, Napolitano, Camacho, Neville......Against: McLaughlin, Leonard, Farley.
Karen Nash May 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM
The resolution as passed included an amendment specifying that "the voters of Rhode Island will have to approve a constitutional amendment limiting the facility to 150 Admiral Kalbfus Road, and a local referendum must also pass in Newport approving table games." (Paiva Weed/Abney letter to Mayor & City Council). The proposed "safeguard" is that the limitation on gaming location in Newport cannot be changed by future legislation. The keyword here is LEGISLATION. There is absolutely NO way to guarantee that this pinpoint constitutional amendment, if passed, cannot be challenged and overturned in court. I have asked over and over whether this proposal, if enacted, is LEGALLY DEFENSIBLE. In view of Peter de Savary's reported negotiations for the time-shares at Wellington & Thames in order to build a "grand hotel," we'd better get the answer sooner rather than later.

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