If you set foot inside the Providence, Rhode Island-area’s only casino, you’ll notice that things are bigger…40,000 square feet bigger.
This week, the Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort unveiled its new 40,000-square-foot gaming area, which is home to 355 slot machines, 57 table games, and stadium-style games. The new gaming wing includes a high-limit gaming area, too.
Gov. Dan McKee, who signed an economic development act that helped fund the expansion, was on hand for the new gaming area’s opening. In a press release, McKee said:
“This expansion marks another important milestone for not only Bally’s Lincoln but for Rhode Island itself. We are grateful to Bally’s for its ongoing partnership that contributes to our workforce, our economy, and our State as a whole. I also want to congratulate Bally’s on the successful completion of this crucial expansion and continued investment in Rhode Island’s future.”
The expansion cost roughly $100 million to complete. It was done, among other reasons, to ensure the casino can continue to generate more than $300 million in annual revenue.
Rhode Island casino expansion was a multi-faceted partnership with the state
In many cases, casino expansions involve money from the casino operator and, sometimes, local money. But it’s rare to see a casino included in a statewide economic development plan.
But that’s exactly what happened at Bally’s Twin River.
The 2021 plan, named the Marc A. Crisafulli Economic Development Act after the then-Bally’s president, devoted “significant capital investment” to the $250 million plan.
Though rare, the act made sense. The state’s economy is relatively small, and Bally’s two Rhode Island casinos were the third-largest revenue generator in the state.
“I applaud Bally’s efforts to continuously reinvest in itself and this State by improving upon an already wonderful gaming facility, and in so doing, fulfilling their commitment to constantly improve all they offer their customers, stakeholders, and the taxpayers of Rhode Island,” Sen. Dominick Ruggerio said.
As part of the act, Bally’s had to complete its 18-month, $100 million expansion. It also had to increase the commercial space it was leasing in Providence by 40%.
Additionally, the act raised the Rhode Island minimum wage to $14 by 2023 and $15 by 2024.
Labor unions played a key role in casino’s expansion
Approximately 1,000 union members service and operate Bally’s Twin River daily.
It took hundreds more to help build the 40,000-square-foot addition, according to AFL-CIO President George Nee.
Nee, who was on hand for the grand opening, said more than 20 unions had a role in the expansion project.
“Thank you to Bally’s for its continued commitment to preserve and enhance the family-sustaining wages and benefits opportunities that it provides to our members,” Nee said in a press release.