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Carcieri vetoes gambling bill

June 23, 2010

The governor’s office has released a series of veto messages today. Here’s part of the big one, vetoing a bill to put before voters a decision on whether to expand Twin River and Newport Grand into full-fledged casinos:

First, I believe it is unreasonable to ask Rhode Islanders to vote on those questions and to approve or reject the attendant expansion of gaming when the impact on the state’s finances and budget cannot be determined. The very purpose of state operated gaming in Rhode Island is to generate revenue in lieu of taxes. . . .

[In contrast to the state’s 61 percent share of video lottery revenue] here, no ‘splits’ have been determined, even though the financial benefit of bestowing new gaming powers on two private parties is enormous. Leaving the question of splits to future determination is a deeply flawed strategy becauseĀ  the very grant of gaming authority to a private party, before determining the financial arrangement with the state, eviscerates the negotiating power of the state. This process might be compared to agreeing with a purchaser to take possession of a house before determining the price.

Carcieri says the bill also “cavalierly wipes away the role of the town council or city council in a host community relative to putting a question of local gambling on the ballot.”

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