Rhode Island House Approves Casino Credit Limit Increase

Two proposals to raise the credit limit at the two casinos in the state were approved by the Rhode Island State House on Tuesday. Some politicians are still unsure about the details of these measures, even after they were approved.

By a vote of 57 to 11, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Gregory Costantino’s modified measure. They then passed a bill that was exactly the same and was supported by Senator Frank Ciccone III. The Senate had previously passed the bill by a vote of 55 to 11.

Points of Confusion

The confusion among House members centered on a provision that permits Bally’s Corporation to negotiate a new debt ratio with the Rhode Island Division of Lottery and the Department of Business Regulation (DBR). Rep. Edith Ajello questioned why the provision was not highlighted in blue, a standard practice for amendments to existing laws.

House spokesman Larry Berman clarified in an email that the section wasn’t underlined because the changes pertain to public law, not general law. “The format used in the bill is the same format that has been used many times when authorizing an amendment to a contract between DBR/the Division of Lottery and the facility,” Berman explained.

Lawmakers also debated the potential increase in problem gambling due to raising Bally’s maximum credit line from $50,000 to $100,000. Rep. Patricia Morgan voiced concerns: “People do still lose their homes, people do still have an addiction to gambling, and $100,000 would be an awful amount of debt for some people.”

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Players seeking an extended credit line must undergo a vetting process, including an evaluation of their income and credit history. Costantino’s bill is set for a Senate vote today.

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