Patricia Hilton, the President of the Tiverton Town Council, has proposed an ordinance that would impose restrictions on any revenue generated by the Twin River Tiverton Casino Hotel. The measure has been suggested by Ms. Hilton in an attempt not to see Tiverton become what she called a “financial pickle” in 2021 after the Town Council President explained that the guaranteed casino revenue is not actually guaranteed.
A money distribution procedure would be established in the proposed ordinance. Following a 5 to 2 vote, the proposed ordinance is set to move forward with a virtual hearing set for August 5th.
Some members of the Tiverton Town Council were unwilling to go against a vote that took place in 2018 and was aimed at bringing changes to the town charter to limit casino revenue to debt service, capital and infrastructure. Nancy Driggs, a member of the Council, reminded that the majority of local residents voted against the charter at the time.
However, the 2018 amendment was defeated by only 13 votes, for which John Edwards, a Councilman, said they could hardly be considered an overwhelming majority of votes. As CasinoGamesPro has reported, Tiverton recently found that it cannot depend on the state to compensate for any difference in the generated casino gaming revenue. After this information came to light, Mr. Edwards said that the situation must be looked at from a different approach.
Tiverton Was Supposed to Receive $3.1 Million in Gambling Tax Revenue in 2020
Before the referendum on building a Tiverton casino with table games took place in 2016, the town’s residents were told that revenue estimated at $3 million would be guaranteed as soon as the casino starts operation. According to the information given to local voters at the time, if the tax revenue received by the town did not equal the aforementioned amount from table and video games every year, the state would compensate for the difference.
The overall amount that Tiverton was supposed to receive amounted to $3.1 million, with $100,000 being added to the previously projected $3-million revenue when sports betting was officially legalized. That amount was also included as part of the operating budget of the town for fiscal 2020.
However, the Tiverton Casino was forced to cease operations in the middle of March as part of the lockdown measures aimed at tackling the further spread of the coronavirus infection. To make things worse, the state authorities said they were not supposed to take responsibility for the difference because the gambling venue was not in operation. Tiverton had received gaming revenue of only $1.2 million so far in the fiscal 2020, which leaves the town with a deficit of $1.8 million.
This is exactly why the President of the Town Council has suggested that casino revenue should be restricted by ordinance, with the authorities recommended to prohibit it from being used in the operating budget of the town for the upcoming fiscal year. According to Ms. Hilton, such a step would be in the best interest of the town, as it would prevent it from ending up in the same sort of crisis.