Harrah’s Has Entered Competitive Bidding Before

Thomas K. Jones of West Warwick–who lives across the street from Harrah’s proposed casino sight–has done some research and discovered that Harrah’s has entered a competitive bidding process before. The difference in dollar figures is staggering.

I am not a legislator with legislative staffers and researchers at my disposal. Yet it took me all of five minutes to do a Google search which led me to a story about Harrah’s competitive high bid of $520 million for a casino license in Rosemont, Ill. If you do a Google search on Harrah’s Entertainment, you will find other sites with stories involving Harrah’s Entertainment being involved in competitive bidding with many other states in this country and competitive bidding out of this country.
My first point is that Harrah’s Entertainment is involved in competitive bidding for a casino license in other states far higher that the $100 million they are willing to give to Rhode Island. Why? Is it a sweetheart deal? To whose benefit, taxpayers of Rhode Island or Harrah’s Entertainment? You tell me the answer.
Second point, without competitive bidding, there will always be a question in the minds of Rhode Island citizens as to why this General Assembly now at this time knowingly has information that in the State of Illinois Harrah’s Entertainment had open competitive bidding for a casino license (and bid $520 million). But in Rhode Island, why is the General Assembly allowing Harrah’s to be the only bidder? Why is the General Assembly allowing Harrah’s Bid of $100 million when Harrah’s has been involved in competitive bidding in Illinois (for $520 million)?
The fact is that we all know that the competitive bidding process will produce the best results for Rhode Island. Why are we settling for less? Whether you’re for or against the casino, the voters should have the privilege of voting knowing that this General Assembly provided the best deal with a competitive bidding process for a casino license.
I have also looked into the matter of the revenue generated by various casino operations and my investigation has revealed that of all the casinos in this country, the ones drawing the most money on an annual basis are Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. I believe any casino proposed for Rhode Island would bring as valuable as those facilities and as valuable as the one being proposed in Illinois. Yet Rhode Island is slated to receive a mere fraction of the monies those states are receiving.

I tried to duplicate Jones’ search and couldn’t (though this may be close) find the particular bid info, but I did discover that Harrah’s was the high bidder to build a casino in Waukegan, Ill. The price: $325 million. The point is that there can be no doubt that a competitive bidding process would be most beneficial to Rhode Island. But that should only occur after the approval of a statewide referendum legalizing the concept of casino gamblin, and not a specific enterprise.

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