Jul 28, 2014

Council Supports Newport Grand's Request for Table Games Referendum

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

Council Supports Newport Grand's Request for Table Games 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.”

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