Quonset Perfect For A Casino, Says Rep. Trillo

The Warwick state rep wants to bring a casino to Quonset in North Kingstown.

According to state Rep. Joseph Trillo (R-Warwick), Quonset is the perfect spot for a “world class casino.” He hopes that together with Rep. John Carnevale (D-Johnston, Providence), he will be able to garner enough support to . Trillo said that Sen. Frank Ciccone (D-Providence, North Providence) is interested in sponsoring the bill in the Senate.

“When Massachusetts builds its three casinos - which they will do - we’re going to lose money,” Trillo said in an interview Wednesday night. “It’s not a question of whether you want gambling or don’t want gambling — gambling is here.”

According to Trillo, Quonset’s deep-water port can accommodate up to four cruise ships at a time. That, together the existing airport, the recently-completed connector road from Route 4, the new rail line and a golf course — “the whole thing is just ready for building.”

Rep. Bob Watson (R-East Greenwich) does not agree.

“It’s a terrible idea,” said Watson Wednesday. “I’m the last one to start criticizing vices but are we willing to get money that way? Has Mr. Trillo ventured down to Atlantic City lately and seen what it looks like there? Does he understand where the money comes from?”

Trillo argued that Quonset would be different, catering more to vacationers as opposed to day-trippers. That’s the difference between this idea and the West Warwick casino proposal of 2005, Trillo said. That proposal was voted down in a general election.

“West Warwick is landlocked. Foxwoods is landlocked. Foxborough is landlocked,” he said, mentioning proposed and actual casino sites. “The biggest thing [at Quonset] is that you could bring in cruise ships.”

Trillo also argued that a casino there would not bother neighbors. “That’s why they built the Navy base there,” he said, noting its relative isolation.

Watson and EG Council President Michael Isaacs both said they thought a casino could hurt local businesses. And Isaacs questioned the need for a new gambling venue in the state.

“We already have two facilities in Rhode Island that have gambling,” said Isaacs, citing Twin River and Newport. “It seems to me that it would make the most sense for those two facilities to become casinos. You have people playing virtual games, what’s the difference?”

Trillo, whose district includes Cowesett and Potowomut, said the sort of casino he envisioned for Quonset would be different and that difference would protect the local economy.

“If you had a world class casino, the people who are going to come to the casino, they don’t want to stay at the casino all the time,” he said. “I don’t see that it’s hurting the local business.”

Trillo . Right now, there is no direct way to go from Route 95 northbound to Route 4 southbound. Instead, cars must exit off of 95 onto Route 2, then make a left turn onto Division Street and use the onramp just past East Greenwich Marketplace. The same is true in the reverse — to get from Route 4 to 95 south, drivers must exit onto Division Street and enter 95 from Route 2.

“There are plans right now on the drawing board to make a direct connection between 95 north to Route 4,” said Trillo. “It needs to be done.” 

Trillo said that the next step is to try to garner enough support that the proposal could make it to the legislative floor.

“I’m putting details together, I’m looking for support from people in the General Assembly.”

So far, he said, there are about 35 people interested. “Right now it’s a concept, it’s an idea. When there’s more of a concept together, we’re going to move forward.”

BOB I January 05, 2012 at 01:06 PM
good idea joe,always should have been a ramp from 95/n to rt4/s. but getting anything in quonset you first have to get it past the people of "wickford" and that ain't gonna happen.
Mutato January 05, 2012 at 03:07 PM
You know what's sad, they'll somehow cook up some scheme where in order to approve a 95N -> Rt4S ramp, it gets bundled to a Quonset casino approval. Would not put it past these "lawmakers". It gets done in Washington all the time!
Donna Mangione January 05, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Make RI's shoreline a destination vacation spot for upper class visitors. Take it up a notch. This will bring business to our fine local restaurants, specialty retail stores, etc. Don't allow gambling and turn it into Atlantic City. Don't we want RI to be a desirable place to live?
reed atamian January 05, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I hope this gets handled correctly !
ELM January 05, 2012 at 05:37 PM
In order to avoid all the traffic congestion going through EG from 95, a ramp from Rt 4 to Quonset really needs to be part of the deal!
BOB I January 05, 2012 at 05:59 PM
not fron around here huh?
Mark Oltedale January 05, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I'm not sure gambling is the answer, but, if it's going to happen, Quonset is an excellent location - the nearer the water the better. Infrastructure is there, the port can handle smaller - medium sized cruise ships. The tax benefit to the town and employment will be a boost to the local economy. Cape Air could bring people in from local tourist points, plus the ferry is there....perfect.
Heather Larkin January 05, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Is there data somewhere that shows that cruise lines are even interested in coming to a casino in NK instead of Newport? Catering to cruise ships rather than day trippers sounds ok, but I question whether there is enough cruise ship traffic, year round, to support this notion.
Ed Renehan January 06, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I fear you are right!
Mutato January 06, 2012 at 02:59 PM
I agree. People are pulling "data" out of thin air regarding cruise ships coming in for gambling. Sounds far fetched. This isn't some Caribbean tourist spot! It's a "potential" casino plopped in with a major industrial park. Please let's not have it happen.
Alfred Castiglioni January 10, 2012 at 02:15 AM
I was a bartender at the Providence Marriott [Cahoots] when Foxwoods opened. Business decreased by 20% and it never came back AND we were 50 miles away. A full fledge casino would ruin all the current restaurants and other businesses within a 20 mile radius I would estimate. If you are going to make gambling legal at least let everybody be able to have it available to them to make money with. If you are going to pass a law that is going to put current restaurants out of business, at least allow them to put some slot machines in their places so they can get a piece of the poison pie that will ultimately kill them


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