New Effort to Buy Newport Grand and Allow Table Games - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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New Effort to Buy Newport Grand and Allow Table Games

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis  

mcurtis@abc6.com 

The Newport Grand slot parlor may look big and boxy, but this (artist rendition) is how it might look after a $40 million dollar facelift.

English real estate magnate Peter de Savary, along with Rhode Island partners Paul Roiff and Joe Paolino are trying to buy Newport Grand.

"And to be able to make, really, an ugly building… When you drive over that Newport Bridge and you see 'Slots' it's not what Newport is all about. We want to beautify it; to make it look inviting; and not chase people away, but invite people in," said real estate developer and former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino.

But Paolino and his partners want a ballot referendum this November that would allow table games just like those now at Twin River in Lincoln.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "Two years ago voters across Rhode Island approved table games for Newport Grande, but voters within the City of Newport said no."

And by law both state and city voters must say 'yes,'or table games are out.

Already a group opposed to them in Newport, is reforming.

"We're trying to get the voters riled up again and I hope that they get mad that they're coming back again and having to vote on this again. Because we said no, and we mean no, and we've always said no, and we still say no," said Laurie Shaw, of Citizens Concerned About Casino Gambling.

Critics worry if Newport Grand gets table games, investors will want to move the operation to a waterfront location.

Joe Paolino says that's not true.

"We're making the referendum question very site specific, that it has to be at that (present) location."

The Newport City Council and Rhode Island General Assembly must first approve the November ballot question, before voters can decide.
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