Twin Rivers Prepares For Massachusetts Gambling

With the $250 million purchase of Hard Rock Biloxi completed, Twin River Casino in Rhode Island is getting ready for the coming crush from Massachusetts gambling. The company also is pushing a proposed ballot initiative in Colorado that would allow slots and table games at the company's Arapahoe Park racetrack.

Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island has completed the purchase of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Biloxi for 0 million. Twin River Management Group Inc. Chairman John E. Taylor Jr. said the casino will maintain its Hard Rock affiliation and Twin River has no plans to make major changes in Biloxi, except to enhance marketing programs to build business and promote the property’s new 150-room hotel tower. The property offers 50 table games and more than 1,300 slot machines. “

“Growing the business solidifies our position in Rhode Island at an important time,” Taylor said. He was referring to efforts to bolster Twin Rivers against upcoming competition from Massachusetts. Twin Rivers and Newport Grand casinos provide the third-largest source of revenue for Rhode Island, and that could take a $100 million hit if gambling indeed comes to Massachusetts, starting June 2015, when the Plainridge Racecourse adds slots to its harness racing track and becomes the Plainridge Park Casino.

“Our long-term vision all along was to strengthen Twin River as a business so that we might create greater value for our various stakeholders and at the same time mitigate competitive threats, particularly with respect to Massachusetts casinos,” Taylor said.

Another way Taylor is circling the wagons is by promoting a proposed ballot initiative in Colorado that would allow slot machines and table games at the company’s Arapahoe Park horse racetrack near Denver. If the initiative passes, Taylor said the company would make “a couple-of-hundred-million-dollar investment” to add a casino at the racetrack, which will hold 38 race days this summer. Taylor noted 34 percent of the racino’s annual revenue, an estimated $100 million, would go toward a supplemental education fund. “It’s very early, but I think there’s receptiveness when you’re talking about expansion at an existing enclave,” Taylor said.

The company also owns 11 off-track-betting parlors in Colorado. Currently Colorado allows limited casino-style gambling at Cripple Creek, Blackhawk and Central City.