$3 Million Pro-Gambling Campaign (posted January 20, 2000)

Appearing January 20 on the Ch36 television show "The Lively Experiment," Narragansett Indian consultant Guy Dufault promised a $3 million campaign for a new gambling casino in Rhode Island. The campaign would pay for the costs of getting a casino measure on the 2000 ballot and cover an ambitious advertising program designed to persuade voters to support the ballot measure.

In a preview of key arguments in the campaign, Dufault strongly criticized the Providence Journal newspaper, which in the past has editorialized against a gambling casino, for hypocrisy saying it makes "millions" of dollars off of gambling advertisements placed by the state lottery as well as the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos. He also called casino opponent Governor Lincoln Almond either a "hypocrite" for opposing the casino while relying on $140 million in lottery revenues for the state budget or "incompetent" for being unable to stop the state's expansion of gambling.

However, it is not clear a casino measure will make it onto the ballot. Given Governor Almond's threat to veto any General Assembly effort to put it on the ballot, casino supporters will have to produce 60 percent majorities in the House and Senate to override Almond's veto. In recent days, legislative leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Paul Kelly have questioned the desirability of a casino. Among other things, he said, a Narragansett casino would harm the state budget by taking funds away from lottery revenues. The betting among political insiders is that the casino measure will not be placed on the 2000 ballot.