Governor Raimondo continues to lobby for IGT contract extension at Senate Finance Committee hearing
By: Ellie Romano
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- The governor's personal campaign to keep IGT as the state's lottery provider was on display again at the State House.
On Tuesday, Governor Gina Raimondo went before the Senate Finance Committee and pleaded to lawmakers to pass a 20 year contract extension with IGT. This comes a week after she delivered a similar speech to the House Finance Committee.
The $1 billion dollar no bid contract would keep IGT in charge of the state's lottery. It would require IGT to keep 1,100 jobs in Rhode Island, spend $150 million in capital investment, pay $25 million to the state up front, and keep its North American headquarters in Rhode Island.
"We cannot find another gaming contract in the country that includes these kinds of robust economic development terms," said Raimondo.
Some members of the Senate Finance Committee were not convinced by the governor's testimony.
"The facts you are presenting are making a case for why we should want to believe the numbers and sign tomorrow if we could," said Senator Louis DiPalma. "But I think if we could look at some other numbers, we might get a different perspective."
At the hearing, the governor addressed why she wants the General Assembly to handle the contract, rather than open it up to bidders.
"This has been the standard practice in lottery for 20 years," said Raimondo. “The 2003 IGT contract was approved by the assembly. As was the 2005 Twin River contract. As was the 2005 Newport Grand contract. As was the 2010 Newport Grand contract extension, and the 2016 Twin River contract extension.”
The governor warned lawmakers if they do not pass the contract, the state will lose more than 1,000 jobs.
The House Finance Committee will meet again on the matter on Thursday. A representative from IGT will testify at that hearing. The public will also have time to testify.
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