Twin River Casino adds table games, getting the jump on Mass.
Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., added table games like craps and blackjack, to its existing 4,500-machine slots parlor on June 19 to appeal to a wider segment of the gambling community, keeping its eye on developments across the border with destination resort casinos in Massachusetts.
As the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe awaits answers on its federal land application and Massachusetts continues reviewing prospective commercial casino developers, gamblers have been able to enjoy table games for the past few weeks over the state line.
“We always knew it would be a very important tool to have in our tool box,” Twin River Casino spokeswoman Patti Doyle said. “Anecdotally, the tables have been very well received.”
Located in Lincoln, R.I., Twin River Casino began offering 66 table games on June 19. Rhode Island voters last year approved Twin River’s proposal to expand from a 4,500-machine slots parlor to a full-scale casino. The action comes at a time when Massachusetts is in the midst of implementing a 2011 expanded gambling law.
“In short term, I think the table games will recapture some of the Rhode Island traffic that goes to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun,” said Clyde Barrow, director of the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. “They’ll probably intercept Massachusetts residents who would otherwise bypass Twin River on their way to Connecticut.”
With approximately half its patrons coming from Massachusetts, Twin River has kept a close eye on developments across the state border. When Massachusetts passed legislation allowing casino gambling, both Twin River and the state of Rhode Island commissioned studies showing that the Ocean State could lose $100 million in annual revenue once Bay State casinos are opened, Doyle said.
They now hope to keep some of that revenue through the introduction of table games.
“That still may happen to some degree,” Doyle said. “What we’re hoping is that customers do explore some and get to know us.”
Barrow predicts that once Massachusetts begins licensing casinos next year, Twin River will lose a large part of its market share, even with table games.
“It gives Twin River a window of opportunity to capture some gains, but once Massachusetts facilities are up and running, I expect to see their revenues decline by as much as $150 million a year,” Barrow said.
Two market models
While Twin River is smaller than Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun and proposed casinos in Massachusetts, it hopes to find a niche in the market.
Getting a head start on Massachusetts, Doyle said, could also help Twin River.
“It is critically important to have table games,” she said.
The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and commercial casino applicants in Massachusetts are adhering to a destination resort casino model that pairs an array of non-gambling-related amenities with casino gambling. Mohegan Sun, for example, recently unveiled $1 billion plans for a commercial casino resort in Palmer that would include kayaking, zip lines, a water park and hotels.