PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Twin River Worldwide Holdings says it is submitting a competing proposal for the state’s lottery technology contract as it continues fighting a proposed 20-year extension of IGT’s current deal.
Twin River manages Rhode Island’s two state-owned casinos but is not a technology company, so on Wednesday it announced a partnership with London-based Camelot Lottery Solutions that executives said could take over the operation of slot machines, scratch tickets and other technology from IGT.
Twin River has been loudly protesting for months that Gov. Gina Raimondo did not put IGT’s contract out to bid before agreeing to a proposed 20-year extension with IGT that is currently before lawmakers. Gov. Don Carcieri also did not put the contract out to bid when he reached the state’s current 20-year deal with IGT when it was still GTECH.
Twin River and Camelot did not provide a direct comparison across all the contract terms of what they would offer versus IGT, but insisted it would be as good or better in each case. They said they would seek a 12-year deal; create and maintain 1,100 jobs or else pay the state $100 million; charge lower fees and ask to control fewer slot machines.
Twin River emphasized that Camelot recently took over Illinois’ lottery gaming system from IGT, suggesting the experience of that state shows Camelot would be capable of handling a crucial operation worth roughly $400 million in annual state revenue.
The announcement was released by Twin River. A spokesperson for Camelot did not immediately respond to an email.
An IGT adviser, Bill Fischer, dismissed the announcement as “a distraction.”
“Neither Camelot nor Twin River has the expertise to manage the complex computer systems that support RI’s lottery operations,” he said “In fact, IGT provides the technology to support Camelot’s lottery operations in the United Kingdom.”
Fischer noted that Camelot said earlier this year it has about 500 employees, and questioned whether that puts its job promise in doubt.
Raimondo spokesperson Josh Block echoed Fischer, calling the announcement by Twin River “nothing more than 11th hour theatrics from a hospitality company intent on disrupting Rhode Island’s third largest revenue source.”
“The proposal before the General Assembly protects 1,100 Rhode Island jobs, secures $150 million in local investment, and guarantees Rhode Islanders have access to state-of-the-art gaming technology for the next two decades,” Block said. “Twin River’s focus should be on staying competitive in the evolving casino landscape to prevent further loss of jobs and revenue.”
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he had not had time to review the new proposal but urged Twin River and Camelot to make their case at the hearings. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio did not immediately react.
The Senate Finance Committee is slated to begin a series of hearings reviewing the proposed IGT deal on Thursday. The House Finance Committee has also scheduled two hearings. Raimondo’s office said she will testify before the House on Sept. 24 and before the Senate on Oct. 1.