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Rhode Island might buy out failing casino

5 February 2009

LINCOLN, Rhode Island -- As reported by The Boston Globe: "Rhode Islanders marveled when the seedy old Lincoln Greyhound Park was transformed by investors into a lavish gambling salon, with a map of the state etched into the terrazzo marble floor and soaring columns fashioned to appear like autumn oaks.

"But the legions of new gamblers that were supposed to flock to the glitzy slot parlor, rebranded as Twin River and purchased and renovated at a cost of nearly $700 million, never came. Its operators cannot meet heavy debt obligations and have defaulted on the terms of their loans. Bankruptcy threatens.

"So to avoid the risk of a closure and the loss of $250 million the slot machines generate annually for state coffers, the state's politicians are considering ways to keep it open, including a possible purchase - an unprecedented move that would make Rhode Island the first state to own a 'racino.'

"...Twin River provides Rhode Island's third-largest revenue source, behind only the income and sales taxes. For state officials grappling with huge deficits created by the recession, it has become, in the recent parlance applied to bank bailouts, too big to fail.

"...Rhode Island's general treasurer, Frank Caprio, first proposed a buyout if Twin River fails to right itself. Other prominent officials have jumped on board, including the speaker of the Rhode Island House, saying it must be considered..."

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