Before the autumn leaves begin to fall from the New England trees, Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island will likely deal the state’s first hand of legal poker. According to a recent press release, Twin River will be opening a new 16-table poker room sometime in August. The casino will also add eight to twelve table games in the non-smoking area of the casino.
To make way for the new table games and poker room Twin River will remove 274 slot machines.
“An important part of our business philosophy has been to listen to what our customers want, and the addition of a poker room is one of most often heard requests,” Twin River Chairman John Taylor was quoted as saying by WPRO in early June.
According to Taylor, the new tables will boost employment at the casino by 120.
Twin River’s ever-growing offerings
In 2012 voters in Rhode Island approved a measure that allowed Twin River to expand their gaming offerings by adding table games to what had simply been a slot casino.
Twin River’s table game section officially opened in June of 2013. At the time, the casino added 65 table games to its 4,500 slot machines, all of which were on the main, lower, floor in the smoking section. The casino currently has 80 table games.
In what is becoming a very saturated area now that Plainridge Casino has opened just across the Massachusetts border, Twin River is also planning on adding a hotel to their property.
“That’s what drives our laser-like focus on customer service, our plans for a new amenity hotel on property, and now, the expanded non-smoking floor offerings,” Taylor stated. “We will continue to explore ways to remain competitive in this challenging regional market.”
Effect on Connecticut casinos
While Twin River is trying to fend off the challenge from their northern border (in addition to Plainridge, resort casinos are slated to open in Everett and Springfield in 2017) it will be interesting to see what kind of impact the poker room and smoke-free table games at Twin River will have on the two Connecticut casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.
These casinos are already worried about casino expansion in Massachusetts and New York, and Twin Rivers adding both a poker room and non-smoking table game area might lead to more Massachusetts and northern New England residents stopping at Twin River instead of driving another 45 minutes south to Connecticut.
Of the two, Mohegan Sun’s poker room is in the more tenuous position. Foxwoods poker room is massive, whereas Mohegan Sun’s is on the smaller size, more comparable to what Twin River is planning on opening.
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