NEWPORT -- A key Senate committee voted on Wednesday to approve a bill that would ask voters to decide whether to allow Newport Grand to expand into a full-scale casino.
The bill, which was already approved in the House, is now expected to pass through the Senate sometime next week.
Citing increased competition from a slate of planned casinos in Massachusetts, Newport Grand CEO Diane Hurley says that expanding her facility's offerings beyond video lottery terminals to table games is needed in order to remain viable.
However, under the state's constitution, before any expansion can take place, it must be approved by a majority of voters both statewide and in the host community.
Historically opposed to any expansion of gambling, Newporters can expect an aggressive public relations campaign coming out of the former jai alai fronton as the election season heats up.
Last month, the Providence Journal reported that the slot parlor had hired public relations firm Duffy & Shanley to help win public support for the project.
A question to allow Lincoln's Twin River slot parlor to add table games to its facility is also set to appear on the ballot.