1. Twin River raises the stakes. In what appears to be the gaming war of the last decade, Twin River Casino has brought in another gaming giant to help them in their quest to bid on the “no bid,” 20-year contract with IGT. Intralot has joined the Twin River team and will be partners with them in their quest, according to written testimony submitted by the CEO of Camelot Lottery Solutions to the House Finance Committee on Thursday. Camelot and Intralot have partnered together before in Illinois and are use to working together. Intralot was also one of the three companies that Governor Gina Raimondo said were nationally qualified to do this contract work. This new news has raised the stakes, and it will be interesting to see if legislators change their minds on the no-bid deal. Twin River has consistently been throwing a monkey wrench into the governor’s plans to continue with IGT control. The governor remains Lear and steadfast in her support of IGT saying Rhode Island can’t afford to lose the 1,000 jobs from IGT and that it is only company qualified to fulfill this contract. Meanwhile, Twin River has hired many lobbyist to sing its praises at the State House.
2. IGT employees enter the debate. As part of this struggle, IGT’s employees have done commercials touting their employment and expressing concern about losing their jobs. If Twin River were to take over this contract, would they rehire the workers of IGT? Would 1,000 jobs be in jeopardy? There is a lot on the table in this contract, not only the loss of jobs, but the ability to run a first-class operation. Twin River Casino pales in comparison to other neighboring states’ casinos, like Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, and Encore. They have yet to say what their plans are to be more competitive. Now they want to embark on another endeavor to take over the IGT contract. In a Star Trek move, to go where they have not been before, Twin River wants a chance to compete in an area that has exclusively been the work of IGT for over 20 years. Is the RI General Assembly willing to take a chance on this new venture or will it rely on the old motto “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Time will tell a story of Gaming Wars not only between two gaming giants, but also between the powerful lobbyists hired by both companies, who are being paid thousands of dollars to fight for this billion-dollar contract. Stay tuned as this story develops.
3. Gloria Gemma Illuminations of life is this weekend. This weekend, a full water fire will be lit in downtown in Providence on Saturday night in commemoration of the Gloria Gemma breast cancer awareness events this whole weekend. Saturday night’s ceremony of the torch bearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the back of the State House, facing the Providence Place Mall. For more info visit the organization’s Web site.
1. Fatal Federal Hill stabbing in hookah bar marks a trend. A city man was fatally stabbed late Wednesday inside a Federal Hill hookah lounge, the latest incident of violence connected to the city’s nightlife scene. Troy Pine, 46, of Providence, was identified as the twelfth homicide victim of the year and the fifth who was fatally stabbed. Last year, the Providence police reported no stabbing deaths.
In Wednesday night’s stabbing, two patrons of Nara Lounge, at 248 Atwells Ave., were involved in a confrontation. Bystanders broke up the stabbing, Pine stumbled outside, where police found him on the sidewalk. He was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital but died shortly after. No arrests had been made as of 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
These incidents are all too frequent in our city. This weekend and next weekend have major events in our city and on Federal Hill. Federal Hill business owners do not want the patrons to be afraid to go there. One solution may be to close all bars and clubs at 1:00 a.m. as Cranston and other neighboring cities do. The 2:00 a.m. closing may be a thing if the past. There would be no more traveling here from other clubs late night after their clubs close at 1:00. Drastic times call for change. Patrons and residents would feel better if they knew these changes were being made to stop the violence.
Federal Hill continues to be a great restaurant business section of Providence and deserves the city’s full attention in this matter. Meanwhile, we as patrons of Federal Hill and its businesses, should not let a bunch of lowlife punks ruin what our ancestors worked for all their lives. Keep supporting the businesses and restaurants of Federal Hill. They need our support more than ever. It’s our city, our neighborhoods and our friends’ businesses. Stand tall to speak up for our community.
2. The vaping crisis. Over 1,009 vaping-related illnesses have happened across the country. Various states are setting their own executive orders banning various vaping products. In Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo has banned flavored vaping products. Her ban did not go as far as Governor Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, but it is a start. The Center for Disease Control has warned that vaping can be dangerous and issued warnings. The vaping crisis has affected teens mostly, and all warnings should be adhered to. Some opponents of the ban fear that they will rely on smoking again. Both have their health consequences. Stay tuned for more information as we learn the source of illness of the many who were effected.
Featured image by Dave Amadio.