NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) -- Election Day is less than two weeks away, and voters will be faced with seven questions on the ballot. Question #2 seeks approval of an act authorizing state-operated gaming in the city by the sea.
Those in favor of approve state-operated casino gaming here at Newport Grand say it's an easy decision, with job creation being the most important thing. Although, those against the plan say it's simply unconstitutional.
Question 2 on the November ballot asks Rhode Islanders to allow table games to be added to Newport Grand.
"It will preserve jobs, the 200 we have already. It will create jobs, which would be an additional 50," said Newport Grand CEO Diane Hurley.
Rhode Islanders will also be asked to approve casino gaming at Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln. With Massachusetts set to create three full-fledged casinos, Hurley says that approving table games would help Rhode Island compete and generate more revenue for the state.
Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas of the Narragansett Indian Tribe says this year's casino questions made it onto the ballot without the same kind of vetting he and his tribe went through several years ago.
"The tribe certainly feels this is unconstitutional," he said. "We brought our proposal in 2000 and it had to go to a constitutional amendment question in 2006. There were six years of hearings, studies, etc. to make sure all of the information of our proposed facility was given to the people so they could make an educated vote. That is not the case here."
On the other hand, Hurley says they went through the proper steps to put Question 2 in front of voters.
"The Constitution was very clear about how it would take place," she said. "We had to ask the city council to ask the General Assembly to put it on the ballot, and they did."
Even if casino gaming is approved statewide, table games at Newport Grand will not go into effect unless the city of Newport passes Question #2 as well.
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