Newport Grand Plans Expanded Gambling - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

As reported by the Providence Journal: "The cavernous fronton at Newport Grand, where the world's best jai alai players once thrilled fans and bettors with their fast-paced sport, may become a five-story, 86-room hotel with extra space for dining and video gambling, according to the casino's owner.

"Newport Grand is proposing to spend $20 million over the next three years on improvements to the casino, with most of the work focused on modifying the fronton, which shut down in 2003.

"???Hurley unveiled her plans for Newport Grand at a Senate hearing yesterday during which she asked for exactly what Lincoln Park's prospective buyer is seeking: a tax freeze for the next 18 years.

"???Initially, plans called for transforming the space into a performance venue able to compete with the live entertainment at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. But a consultant hired to conduct a feasibility study determined that Newport Grand would be able to put on just a dozen events a year.

"???Hurley emphasized that the improvements would help support Newport's tourism industry, not compete against it.

"???Newport Grand projects that, with the changes, its operation would earn the state $877 million in gambling tax from 2006 to 2015."

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