Rhode Island Yanks Low-Revenue VLTs From Twin Rivers Casino

Rhode Island Yanks Low-Revenue VLTs From Twin Rivers Casino
By Jake Perper

Rhode Island casino revenue led to an interesting decision by the state.

On Monday, the Rhode Island Lottery ordered that 360 video slots that IGT (International Gaming Technology) provided to the Twin River casinos be removed, per a report from the Providence Journal.

These video slots were labeled as “underperforming” and were put in the Twin River casinos after the Rhode Island Lottery had a contract with IGT. The company seeks to renew the deal for longer than 20 years and wants the video slot machines be the dominant presence on the floor of the casinos.

Rhode Island Lottery Director Gerald Aubin said IGT’s video slot machines were simply “underperforming” and didn’t meet the minimum requirements. Aubin told this to a legislative oversight committee on Monday, the Journal reported.

He told lawmakers that he is going to “take appropriate action” the next day. That was all confirmed on Tuesday evening after Department of Revenue spokesman Paul Grimaldi told the Journal this: “RI Lottery officials met with IGT managers today to inform the company that it would remove 360 of its (VLTs) from the casinos. Doing this will raise its efficiency rating to at least 100 percent.”

Rhode Island Casinos and IGT

There are many looming questions including the time frame the slots will be taken out, which ones, and why the lottery settled on 360.

The Journal story pointed out that IGT’s existing contract allows the Rhode Island Lottery to eradicate up to 15% of the machines. That would be around 655 machines, if that many do not reach desired performance standards, which they did over the past year.

As for the question regarding additional video slot machines and which companies should get them and why, Rhode Island Lottery video lottery supervisor Joe DeOrsey wrote in an email to the Journal:

“I have been asked to respond to your recent letter ... Scientific Games, as you know, performed well above the ... threshold; and IGT did not. As has been previously discussed, under normal circumstances, these results would trigger the option for removing a certain number of IGT Video Lottery Terminals and awarding a certain number of Video Lottery Terminals to Scientific Games.

“As you are aware, there are proposals that have been made by Twin River as well as pending Legislation before the Rhode Island General Assembly, both of which could change the current method used to determine vendor allocation of machines. Until these matters are settled, the Lottery is unable to take any action regarding the reallocation of Video Lottery Terminals,″ DeOrsey said.

IGT spokesman Bill Fischer told the Journal that his company will “work with the lottery to accomplish” removing the machines and also replacing 270 more video slots.

IGT provides a whopping 84 percent (per previous Journal reports), or around 4,364 electronic gambling machines, which occupy the Twin River Casinos in Tiverton and Lincoln.

This could be the first effort by the Rhode Island Lottery to get rid of machines that are over 20 years old and bring in new fresh ones that can draw more customers around the state.

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Jake Perper covers casino news for TopUSCasinos.com. A veteran of more than a decade of sports writing, he has covered the Chicago Bears for the Bears Backer blog, and his stories have also appeared on nfl.com, The Tampa Tribune, The Naples Daily News and Bleacher Report. He is also the leas scout for Prep Hoops Florida, based in Tampa.

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