One of the bills, sponsored by House Finance Committee Chairman Raymond E. Gallison Jr. (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth) and Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence) will allow Twin River to issue lines of credit to its patrons.
The legislation (2014-H 8170aa, 2014-S 3013Aaa) would permit Twin River to offer credit lines of up to $50,000 per patron, and establishes limits and procedures for their issuance.
Casinos often issue lines of credit, referred to as markers, to patrons who dont want to carry large amounts of cash or to those who have run out of cash while gambling. Twin River expanded to offer table games last summer in addition to the video slots it has offered since 1992.
The legislation is aimed at keeping Twin River attractive and competitive as Massachusetts launches into casino gaming.
The bills include a number of safeguards, including a provision requiring Twin River to check the credit-worthiness of individuals applying for credit, and the ability of patrons to limit their credit line, voluntarily have it reduced or suspended, or put themselves on a self-exclusion list of people who do not want credit issued to themselves at all.
The Assembly also passed a measure (2014-H 8129, 2014-S 3014), originally introduced by Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) and Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Little Compton, Tiverton), to ban casinos from placing a lien on a Rhode Islanders real estate as a means to collect a debt that is the result of a line of credit the casino extends to a gambler.
Although it will also apply to Twin River, the measure was introduced in response to Connecticut casinos putting liens on Rhode Islanders homes to collect markers. While Mohegan Sun has used a real estate lien to collect a marker only once in Rhode Island, Foxwoods reportedly has done it 30 times, and more than half of those liens were for debts of $1,000 or less. The sponsors introduced the measure to prevent the innocent families of gamblers from losing their homes, particularly over relatively small debts.
Additionally, the General Assembly created a new liquor license that will allow Twin River, and any other future casinos that are open 24 hours a day, to extend the hours in which they may serve alcohol. The new Class B-C license, or casino license, will allow 24-hour casinos to serve alcohol from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as nights before federal and state holidays.
The legislation (2014-H 8171, 2014-S 3012) was also sponsored by Chairman Gallison and Senate Majority Whip Goodwin.