Most state chief executives are reluctant to credit the importance of gaming revenues that in many cases keep the states afloat. But not Don Carcieri, the governor of Rhode Island.
Once it was announced last week that the $435 million deal that placed the American gaming division of British operated Wembley Plc into the operating hands of BLB Investors, Carcieri hailed the move as a way of insuring that the country’s littlest state would continue to receive the multi-millions of dollars generated by Lincoln Greyhound Park.
Actually, the revenues should grow since BLB plans to add 1,700 video lottery machines to its gaming mix.
"This contract," said a joyous Carcieri, "will help us protect a major source of state revenue. The money the state received from Lincoln Park funds a variety of essential state programs."
The deal provides that BLB Investors will pay $425 million for the Rhode Island dog track and another $25 million for four tracks Wembley owns in Colorado that operate without gaming machines.
BLB Investors, which is led by Sol Kerzner, CEO of Kerzner International Ltd. (KZR), said it plans to immediately begin expanding the gaming floor of the track with a $125 million improvement program.
Also benefiting from the sale will be the Narragansett Indian tribe that will get a cut of the dog track revenue, estimated by the state as reaching $10 million annually. Still, the Narragansett Indians are partners of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) that seeks a license to build a casino in West Warwick.