Twin River Casino officially opens table games

Las Vegas-style betting games like blackjack and craps made their public debut Wednesday at Rhode Island's Twin River.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and other state leaders attended a ribbon-cutting to mark the official start of expanded gambling at the Lincoln casino.

"The same goals are always the same: revenue for the state and good jobs for Rhode Islanders," Chafee said.

Twin River hired 400 new workers and installed 65 tables for the new games.

"Our total workforce when all is said and done will be between 1,400 and 1,500 people. This conversation about bringing jobs to Rhode Island is as relevant today as it was then, and it makes us proud to deliver on the promises that we made," Twin River chairman John Taylor said.

But not everyone is happy.

Randy Noka, a Narragansett Indian ambassador and councilman, spoke for his tribe, which fought for years to open a casino in the state.

"I'm truly disgusted with how things have evolved that allows Twin River to have table games. It appears that the only way gaming was going to expand in Rhode Island was for the Narragansett Indian Tribe to not be involved with the proposal. My tribe proposed a destination resort casino in Rhode Island just over six years ago that would have provided several thousand needed jobs and a major boost to the economy, only to be vehemently opposed by former governors and other politicos," a statement said.

Craig Sculos, the head of operations at Twin River, recalled the history of the operation.

"It started here as Lincoln Downs, became Lincoln Greyhound Park, became Lincoln Park, became Twin River and today officially Twin River Casino," Sculos said.

Voters approved Twin River's proposal to expand from a slot parlor to a full-fledged casino in November.

Supporters said the expansion will protect state gambling revenue from competition from Massachusetts, where casinos have been authorized but not yet built.

Twin River also has about 4,500 slot machines.