Twin River to Purchase Newport Grand

The sale is expected to close before June 30, 2015, subject to regulatory approvals.

In a surprising twist of fate, Twin River Management Group has entered into an agreement to purchase Newport Grand Casino. It includes the interest in the purchase and sale agreement currently held by Newport Entertainment and Leisure, owned by Joseph R. Paolino Jr. and Paul Roiff, as revealed in a press release this morning. The sale is expected to close before June 30, 2015, subject to regulatory approvals by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation and the Division of Lotteries, as well as other closing conditions.

Reported in the press release, John E. Taylor, Jr., chairman of the board of directors of Twin River Worldwide Holdings (TRWH), parent company of Twin River Management Group and Twin River Casino, says, “As a company headquartered in Rhode Island, we understand how important the future of Newport Grand is to the state and when the acquisition opportunity presented itself, believed that we might be best qualified to preserve and possibly enhance that revenue and protect valuable jobs.”

Taylor is confident about the pending purchase. “We have a unique understanding of this market and have developed a formula for how to successfully compete in it,” he says in the press release. “Additionally, there are significant synergies that exist between Newport Grand and Twin River with respect to cost efficiencies, technical integrations and importantly, marketing approach and cooperative dollars that would allow for maximization of future revenues.”

Taylor noted in the press release, he is concerned by the imminent arrival of casinos in Massachusetts. A soon to be awarded fourth license is slated for the Southeastern Massachusetts region after an agreement was made between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in 2013 for land it purchased in Taunton. “What was believed to be a total of three destination casinos in Massachusetts is actually four,” he says. “…the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is now poised to award another in the Southeastern zone as early as this May.”

The decision by Newport Entertainment and Leisure was driven by the desire to maintain viability of a second casino in Rhode Island. “Our interest in owning Newport Grand was superseded only by the desire to protect an important economic generator for the state and to save and protect the jobs of the hard working people employed there,” says Joseph Paolino, speaking on behalf of himself and Roiff, in the press release. "Newport Grand employs approximately 175 people and generates $26 million annually for Rhode Island. Since the November election, we have considered many options as to who would best manage the property, while taking into consideration the wishes of Newport residents. Because of our commitment to keep local ownership, we felt that Twin River would be best suited for the job, especially since they agreed not to go back to the people of Newport for another table game vote."