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Council Supports Newport Grand's Request for Table Games Referendum

The Newport City Council voted to receive the casino's request for a referendum.

The voted unanimously Wednesday to receive 's request for a referendum on . Dozens of the casino’s employees attended the meeting and met the decision with enthusiastic applause.

CEO Diane Hurley wrote a letter to the City Council detailing the benefits of adding table games for not only the casino itself, but for local revenues.

“We have concluded that adding table games to our gaming offering presents the best possible option for Newport Grand to be able to continue to be a significant local employer and tax revenue generator,” the letter said.

In the letter, Hurley requested that the City Council consider a resolution that would put the question about adding table games to vote by referendum by the citizens of Newport.

For the question to get on the ballot, the City Council and City of Newport has to ask and vote for a resolution. If the resolution passes, the General Assembly will take up the question of whether it will go on the ballot in November.

The imminent larger-scale casinos in Massachusetts are a very real threat to Newport Grand’s business, said the several employees who spoke to the council Wednesday night.

“The threat of Massachusetts having full-fledged casinos is scary,” one employee said.

Newport Grand currently hosts more than 1,000 slot machines and virtual blackjack, which uses digital dealer.

“I’m going to vote for this because I think the people have the right to decide,” Councilor Kathryn Leonard said. She said the only issue that would need to be addressed is the additional traffic a larger casino would attract.

Councilor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano also expressed her support, saying the decision was not solely for the City Council to make, but for the community as a whole.

“This is not a decision for seven people,” she said. “This is a decision for 27,000.”

boss the hogg January 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM
You want to gamble then go ahead. I have never had issue with this. The only issue I have is with the blatant lie that casinos 'generate' income. No casino ever 'generated' income as they only 'redistribute' income.
Gordon January 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM
How many times does this have to be voted down. Politicians should do their jobs and manage the resources available instead of trying to pick the pockets of the states most vulnerable. Want to see gambling at its best go to Atlantic City and ask them how great it has been for that city.
John January 26, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Gambling is just like recreational drugs. Some types of gambling are more addictive than others. Video slot machines are like Meth, designed to be as addictive as possible. Poker is like beer. Some people have a problem with it, but most people use it as a fun addition to socializing. We now have a situation where the worst type of gambling is promoted by the State and the least harmful type of gambling is a crime.
ctt January 26, 2012 at 05:03 PM
If your old enough to get into a casino or old enough to by tobacco products or old enough to buy beer,wine etc., then your old enough to make up your own mind to go in and gamble, or smoke, or drink beer. If you don't like it don't give any of those establishments your business.
Gordon January 26, 2012 at 07:43 PM
If ctt's logic worked there would be not need for AA or GA or any of the other addiction programs.
Tom Sullivan January 26, 2012 at 07:56 PM
How rightr Gordon is. Even in Las Vegas they have problems just a block or two from the Strip. Also, the number of foreclosures on is much higher than the rest of the US. I remember the exact number though.
peter January 26, 2012 at 09:48 PM
A measure for protecting the public from say, a bay polluter, a restaurant serving from an unsanitary kitchen or a multi-national corporation altering our economy and way of life for their own profits, is at the very heart of having a local government at all. It isn't enough to say "if it offends you don't buy from them" - if the damage is done, we all suffer. The ill effects of casino gambling upon localities have been researched time and again, and Newport's citizens have voted it down as well. The reason: it simply is bad for the city and our social fabric in the big picture. The councilors need to have the guts to stand up for our city and say that gambling is not good for Newport. It is not why the city is currently a highly regarded destination of historic value, natural beauty, renowned sailing conditions, arts and cultural institutions and even fine dining, and gambling will not help the 27,000 residents. Has anyone noticed that most Rhode Islanders questioned who live in communities other than current gambling venues are all for it, yet the majority of those in the communities where it exists are against it?
Andy B January 26, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I'll start off by saying I've gambled a few times...with a set amount of money and the intention of having a good time while I lost it. I had fun for all the reasons mentioned above. However, I don't think gambling at Jai Alai is good for Newport or our people. But, as someone said above, I don't have to go and I don't believe I have the right or the job to tell others how to live their lives. If we get some dollars from this tax-on-the-stupid, then fine. It's their choice. Don't come running for help when you lose everything you own or expect any sympathy from me.
Gordon January 27, 2012 at 01:54 AM
I am not sure it is the role of our elected officials to look for opportunities to tax the stupid even thought that often seems to be the focus of their revenue generating plans.
nptresident January 27, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Gambling is here to stay. Face it. If you don't like it, don 't go. But don't put a place out of business that provides jobs and could potentially provide even more jobs. Gambling is a reality. What else could go into that behemoth!
ctt January 27, 2012 at 02:07 PM
With all these great answer to everyones problems Gordon should run for world leader. First, I choose not to go to casinos,that being said according to Gordon if you go into these establishments your "stupid". So doing something within your leagal rights and your stupid. Great platform. If people have'nt noticed, it's already a casino,granted only slots. You can tell because newport and the towns around it have turned into deserted wastelands.According to Gordons "logic" we should then get rid of all motor vehicles because we know, if you break a traffic law and get caught you will get a fine or have to go to traffic court.I'm sure nobody has ever gone over the posted speed limits and I'm sure everyone has come to a full and complete stop at every stop sign. So to alleviate these problems git rid of all motor vehicles. It comes down to each individual having their own self-restraint. So Pete is the massive, ugly building with "SLOTS'' across the front and the wonderfull site of the transfer station before you turn onto the off ramp considered "highly regarded destination of historic value, natural beauty'' how about the low income housing just steps away from the historic bellvue avenue? Your right we should get rid of everything that does'nt appeal to the "point" or the south end of town. Hili already has video blackjack tables, if they get the tables they want that means they need to create more jobs, another 40,50 people working, that wouldn't help the unemployed.
ctt January 27, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Well after checking my closet and finding it empty I'm going to tell everyone what they should do .I've been doing some thinking and maybe all the "no" table people are right, if this passes, Aquidneck Island and maybe Jamestown will turn into a post-apocaliptic wasteland with only zombies, drug dealers and their junkies,prostitutes, and the mob running the whole island. Doubt it. I know what way I'm voting. Historic Newport, ''the playground for the rich'' will be just fine.
peter January 28, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Let me just clarify: when I mention historic Newport, I speak not of the playground of the New York rich socialites, but of the value of this city as a vision of how our country was founded. As for the wealth that still comes because of mansions, hotels, sailing, etc- it also buoys the economy here. Do not forget that the related costs to the city resulting from full casino gambling is found time and again to outweigh the benefits and few jobs created.

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