Roulette wheels spun for the first time at Twin River on Friday as the facility held an early opening for invited guests ahead of its grand opening as a casino next week.
The Lincoln slots parlor is expanding to offer Las Vegas-style games including blackjack and craps following a successful voter referendum last fall. Friday's soft opening amounted to a test run before Twin River's casino games formally start next week.
Twin River spent the winter and spring hiring hundreds of workers, renovating space for the new games and passing a litany of state licensing requirements.
Friday's soft opening was a success, said Patti Doyle, a spokeswoman for Twin River. Another soft opening is set for Monday, when members of the public will be allowed to participate. A formal ribbon-cutting is planned for Wednesday.
"We worked so long for this day so to have it arrive is really gratifying," Doyle said.
Voters approved the casino games after company officials and many state lawmakers said they would help Twin River compete with casinos now authorized to be built in Massachusetts. Those casinos are still years away from opening.
The Newport Grand slot parlor had also sought permission for table games, and while voters statewide supported the idea last fall, local voters balked. Casino referendums must pass both statewide and in a facility's host community to be approved.
Twin River and Newport Grand contribute about $300 million a year to state coffers.