It's good to see that someone on Smith Hill, even if it's labor leader George Nee, come alive to the fact that a proposed 2012 referendum on Twin River may be way past the point when racinos in Massachusetts have already begun to eat into slots revenue for RI. Nee's concern, of course, has to do with new jobs being created to service the table games proposed for the venue, and he's right to sound the alarm here.
As I wrote last week, waiting until the end of 2012 to ask RI voters to decide whether or not to permit table games at Twin River - making it a full-scale casino - is very risky. The odds are looking good for Massachusetts allowing racinos to get underway in 90 days of legislation being signed by Governor Patrick in the very near future.
For his part, Governor Chafee's reaction to the RI referndum question is typical: let's form another study commission!
Yes, there are issues that need debate and decision regarding Twin River's future. But waiting until November 2012 to put the Twin River deal in front of voters will be a big mistake. We need a special referendum in November 2011, not 2012.