Gambling opponents rally in Newport

Gambling opponents rally in Newport to protest the city's plans to eliminate a city-wide vote on whether to allow table games at a local casino.

Casino opponents in Newport are angry that the issue of bringing table games to Newport Grand will not be on the local portion of the ballot and will be only addressed on a statewide referendum.

However, Newport voters will still have their say. The votes from Newport will determine whether the community supports or opposes the expansion.

But the concern is not everyone votes the statewide questions.

"It's a local issue. It should be voted on the local ballot," a casino opponent said.

Members of Citizens Concerned about Casino Gambling held a rally Tuesday just before the city's Canvassing Board eliminated the local referendum.

In 2012, Newport voters rejected the proposal while it passed statewide.

In June, the General Assembly voted to eliminate the local question at the end of its session. But Richard O'Neill, the Newport Board of Canvassing clerk, said he didn't learn of the change until Friday.

"We weren't notified that it passed in the format it was passed in," he said.

Casino opponents are questioning the move.

"If it was something the assembly was proud of, they should have stood up and told locals that this is what they've done so there's no confusion at the polls," said casino opponent Liz Taber. "People have to understand what they're voting for."

But some in town don't mind the ballot change or the casino.

"It needs to keep up with every other casinos. Revenue will be good for Newport," said casino supporter Christian Ferreira.