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Twin River expands live gaming as Mass. competition heats up

October 13, 2013

LINCOLN – Massachusetts may be moving forward on adding three casinos and a separate slot parlor as new gambling competition in New England, but that doesn’t have the Twin River casino, off Twin River Road, feeling the pinch of that competition just yet.

In fact, Twin River is well into the process of adding another 14 live game tables to its 66-table-game operation on the first floor of the redesigned former greyhound racing park.

And that is an indication that Twin River’s customers like what the casino is offering and will continue to visit the Lincoln gambling venue when the new competition does come on line.

“It’s been terrific from our perspective,” Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle said of the table gaming business thus far at the casino. “It has either met or exceeded our expectations.”

A steady flow of customers have been coming to Twin River’s available tables of blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat and modified three-card poker games since the tables opened in June.

The demand for the games, which generated $1.8 million in total revenue during their first month of operation, has grown with the total revenue climbing to $5.7 million for the month of August as reported by the R.I. Lottery Commission. Twin River collected $4.7 million of the month’s revenue and the state $1 million.

Dan Sarro, finance administrator for the commission, said the revenue report for September will be issued later this month. “I record all the revenue brought in and you will see what it is month to month,” he said. The reports are available on the Rhode Island Lottery website www.rilot.com.

It was the initial success of the table games that prompted Twin River to seek and obtain approval from the Lottery Commission to add the additional 14 tables to the live gaming area, Doyle said. “Coming off the initial successful months, we know that the market can support these additional games,” she said. Twin River is already in the process of hiring 90 new employees to staff the expanded table game operation, she noted.

The new tables will be added at several locations near the current gaming tables, including one partially enclosed space for approximately four “VIP high-limit” table games, according to Craig Sculous, vice president and general manager of Twin River.

The VIP area is expected to add energy and an enhanced gaming atmosphere to the live game area, and also boost sales in the nearby Blackstone martini and cigar nightclub area. The Blackstone has themed entertainment for Friday and Saturday nights, such as a late 70s disco mix of songs, and that sense of fun often spills over into the gaming area.

“You can see people having a good time, and they will even take a break from the tables and go to the Blackstone,” he said.

The entertainment area also has big-screen televisions where Twin River information is displayed during the day or professional sports games when they are on at night. The lounge can also put up music videos on the screens synched with the music playing on the dance floor, Sculous said.

While the state and Lincoln’s greatest shares of Twin River revenues come from the casino’s 4,538 video gaming terminals, there is also income generated by the casino’s beverage and food sales in its lounges and also from the meal taxes from its three food courts, and separate restaurants and pubs such as Fred and Steve’s Steak House, and the Wicked Good Bar and Grill.

Doyle said Twin River paid approximately $100,000 in meal taxes to the Town of Lincoln in 2012 and expects to see a “material” increase in that amount for 2013.

What impact the proposed development of casinos in Massachusetts will have on Twin River will only be known when they actually open. Voters in Milford will consider a referendum for a casino in that nearby community this November, and the Plainridge Race Course in Plainville is also vying for the state’s slot parlor license as another potential competitor to Twin River.

Doyle said Twin River is aware that it will face a change in revenue when the new gaming opportunities open but also believes its service of its current customer base will minimize that impact.

“We know there will be a loss of revenue and we hope it will be temporary at best,” she said.

“We want our guests to have a great experience here and we want to earn their loyalty and we want them to come back,” she said.

The size of Twin River’s casino operation, approximately 225,000 square-feet of video gaming terminals and table games, in the overall 500,000-square-foot facility makes that visitor support possible, according to Doyle.

“We plan things at a very personal level because of our size,” she said. Twin River also offers convenience of location to visitors from Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts and the direct access from Route 146 is also an asset, according to Doyle and Sculous.

“We have great employees and they value each and everyone one of our customers that come through our doors,” Doyle said.

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