Potential Newport Grand sale depends on table games

Nicole Gerber

ngerber@abc6.com

@nicolegerber

NEWPORT – It'll be up to the voters. And some of them… Aren't having it.

“We are not a table games destination!” said Tony Simpson of Newport.

 Newport residents could soon face a ballot question asking once again to bring table games to the area.

It's the only way that former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino's
investment firm would be interested in buying Newport Grand slots parlor. He says, it's the only way to keep afloat… since the
proposal for a full casino to be built in fall River.

“If table games are not approved in Newport, I don't see how
anybody's going to pass Foxwoods, pay a toll on the Sakonnet Bridge, and then
just play slot machines in an old building in Newport. I don't see that
happening,” Paolino said.

The City by the Sea already voted down table games back in
2012.

 When it was defeated, I think some people thought it might
be moved, well, I can tell you it's not going to be moved,” said Paolino.

“When you have table games, and if the people vote it in,
they can move it anywhere they please because then they'll say 'oh we have so
many jobs, we're going to lose money if we don't do it,'” said Simpson. 

Paolino says he doesn't want to see the city or state loose
revenue because of the potential competition to the north.

But he'll have to do some more convincing to get all the
voters on his side.

“I think it would be a disaster for Newport,” said resident Mona Dube. “We optimize
the tourism industry here and Newport sends lots of money to the state so I
think they could look to another community or another state.”

This is all still in the very early stages. In order for any table games to be brought to Newport, a referendum on November's ballot must first be approved by the city council, and then by the
legislature.

(c) WLNE-TV 2014