PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — IGT and Twin River Worldwide Holdings continued their battle over a proposal to extend IGT’s gambling technology contract for a second 20-year period at a hearing Thursday night before the House Finance Committee.

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced in June a tentative deal with IGT — formerly GTECH — that would continue the 2003 contract it negotiated with then-Gov. Don Carcieri through 2043. IGT’s obligations would include employing at least 1,100 workers in Rhode Island and paying the state $25 million upfront, in exchange for a cut of gaming activity worth roughly $50 million a year.

Twin River, which operates Rhode Island’s two state-owned casinos, has savaged the deal for months after IGT declined Twin River’s request to cut it in on the new agreement. Last month Twin River put forward a new alternative offer in partnership with Camelot Lottery Solutions of London, a company that has a long history with IGT.

The battle will determine who manages the core technology that powers Rhode Island’s casino and traditional lottery games — a crucial task since the money those games bring in represents the state’s third largest source of revenue, worth nearly $400 million during the 2018-19 fiscal year. The bulk of the revenue comes from slot machines at the casinos.

Jay Gendron, IGT’s chief operating officer for lottery, played up its Rhode Island roots and its experience across the globe. Last month the company added Mississippi to the list of states where it is the primary lottery terminal and central system provider, putting IGT in control of that work in 25 of the 50 states, he said.

“Today, roughly 75% of all lottery transactions in the United States pass through our technology infrastructure,” Gendron told the committee in prepared testimony. He called the proposed 20-year contract extension “fair for both IGT and the state,” adding that “time is of the essence” since it would take an extended period to convert the technology to another vendor.

IGT also shared an updated analysis by Edi Tebaldi, an economics professor at Bryant University, which estimated the company’s presence in Rhode Island supports roughly 2,400 jobs and around $174 million in labor income this year. He also estimated the company will “support the generation of $25.9 million in tax revenues for the state and local governments in Rhode Island,” and said it contributed $543,000 to charitable organizations last year.

In their own extensive presentation to the committee, Twin River executives attacked IGT’s performance in Rhode Island, where the company has control over the vast majority of video slot machines (some of which it buys from competing manufacturers). In page after page of colorful charts, Twin River argued Rhode Island is significantly overpaying for mediocre service from IGT.

“IGT has abused its monopoly power and minimized investment to the detriment of the state and Twin River,” the casino company argued, saying IGT’s slot machines generate less revenue than its competitors’ on average and are upgraded less frequently. (The proposed contract extension would require more frequent upgrades from IGT.)

Twin River suggested Rhode Island would get a better deal by switching to its joint partnership with Camelot, promising they will match or exceed IGT’s proposed terms at lower cost. As expected, the two companies confirmed Thursday they would work with Greece-based Intralot — the same IGT competitor that Camelot teamed with in Illinois — to handle the technology.

Camelot CEO Wayne Pickup sent a letter to the committee noting that IGT’s current contract does not expire until 2023, which he argued “provides ample time to execute a robust process to ensure the Lottery’s and state’s requirements are being met and the future of the Lottery is protected.”

The governor’s office once again rejected Twin River’s arguments.

“Twin River seems to be suggesting we should fire a homegrown Rhode Island company with 1,000 local employees in favor of some undefined amalgamation of two international companies — companies that couldn’t even be bothered to show up at the hearing,” Raimondo spokesperson Josh Block said, referring to Camelot and Intralot.

Rhode Island Republican National Committeeman Steve Frias — who waged hard-fought but unsuccessful campaigns against Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in 2016 and 2018 — also weighed in to support putting IGT’s current contract out to bid.

Citing information provided by IGT, Frias said he estimates the company’s roughly 1,000 Rhode Island jobs directly lead to about $8.14 million in state tax revenue. But the state is paying about $14 million more for IGT to operate its lottery system than comparably sized Delaware does, he said.

“Although Gov. Don Carcieri and the General Assembly entered into a no-bid contract with GTECH in 2003, it does not mean Rhode Island should do the same today,” Frias wrote in his prepared testimony. “Circumstances are very different.”

He cited Massachusetts’ legalization of casinos in the intervening years as well as the proposed deal’s increase in IGT’s allowed share of slot machines from 50% to 85%. He also noted that IGT repeatedly failed to meet its job promises in the last decade.

“Only an open and fair competitive bid process is in the best interest of Rhode Island taxpayers,” Frias wrote.

Ted Nesi ( is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook