Twin River casinos back open after three-week pause

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LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s three-week pause officially ended Monday, meaning the state’s two casinos are back up and running.

Craig Sculos, the general manager of Twin River’s Lincoln location, said Rhode Islanders were excited to return, and having employees return to the building was the sense of normalcy they needed.

Twin River’s doors reopened at 6 a.m. Monday, and by 8 a.m., Sculos said someone had already won $10,000.

“It was a great day, in so many ways,” Sculos said. “It’s always nice during these times to take another step toward normalcy.”

While both Twin River’s Lincoln and Tiverton locations are now back open, they’re both operating under restrictions.

Neither casino is open 24/7, with both locations being open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

In Lincoln, the poker tables are currently closed, while in Tiverton, the racebook is currently closed.

Sculos said while the Lincoln casino was closed, they spent the time working on maintenance projects, as well as cleaning the facility.

“We haven’t had any issues with COVID-19 and I think we are doing everything that a responsible business should do,” he said.

Casinos have been controversial throughout the pandemic, with many critics questioning why they’re allowed to remain open throughout the pandemic.

When asked what he would say to those critics, Sculos said, “there are two very important distinctions.”

“The state from day one has set a different series of guidelines for the Lincoln and Tiverton properties,” he said. “More importantly, part two, those guidelines are far more restrictive than, I believe, any other casino in the country, and certainly any other business operating in RI.”

Just like prior to the pause, guests have to have their temperatures taken upon entering and their IDs scanned for contact tracing.

Sculos said between both casinos, 1,500 people are now back to work, but hundreds remain unemployed because the hotels, among other businesses inside the casinos, remain closed.

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