IGT, Bally’s Score Huge Wins in Rhode Island

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Rhode Island legislators just signed off on two deals that will have International Game Technology (IGT) and Bally’s Corp. seeing green for years to come. IGT has supported the state’s lottery system since it was introduced and Bally’s, under its former Twin Rivers Holdings name, has been the exclusive casino operator for years. Both entities will now be allowed to continue in their positions, pending final approval by Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee.

IGT Locked in for 30 More Years

IGT has a massive global footprint, even after it sold its operations in Italy to Apollo Global Management recently. However, it has also run into trouble with how it does business, even in Rhode Island. The proposed extension prepared for the company by the state’s former governor, Gina Raimondo, raised a lot of questions, but not enough for the no-bid deal to be called off. The state Senate approved the company’s extension as a lottery technology provider yesterday.

If Governor McKee, who just took office this past March, agrees with the arrangement, IGT will maintain its position until 2043. In return for its exclusivity, the company is expected to pay the state $27 million upon approval, as well as to provide jobs for a minimum of 1,100 people in the state. Based on comments made previously by the governor, he will most likely approve the new extension.

Bally’s Scores A Bonus

When Bally’s was operating as Twin River, it had a nice arrangement with the state, controlling the two casinos in Tiverton and Lincoln. Twin River became Bally’s Corp. in November of last year after purchasing the brand from Caesars Entertainment a month earlier, and the Bally’s name will remain as the only casino name in the state. The legislation approved yesterday includes exclusivity for Bally’s for another 13 years, but also adds additional incentives. The operator will now take 23% of the slot machine revenue at the two casinos. In return, it will inject $100 million into upgrading the Lincoln property, while hiring at least 30 new employees.

Both companies will also have to make other significant contributions to the state. In addition, they have agreed to increase annually the minimum wage in increments of a dollar per hour starting on January 1 of next year before reaching $15 per hour in 2024. Partly because of all the contributions offered, most lawmakers supported the arrangement, with 28 voting for it and seven opposing it. IGT and Bally’s had joined forces to lobby mutually for continued control last year and their efforts seem to have paid off. Not even the House Republican Leader, Blake Filippi, who had repeatedly opposed the arrangements, could find enough support to have his fellow politicians reconsider. Governor McKee is expected to approve the extensions within the next few days.

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