Paiva Weed helps restore funds for gambling addicts
Speaker of the House Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed last month announced that the General Assembly will restore $50,000 to the state’s program for people with gambling problems. Further, the owners of Twin River and Newport Grand also announced their intention to match the $50,000, increasing the program’s funding level to $100,000 for fiscal year 2013.
According to Fox and Paiva Weed, the General Assembly will access its legislative grant program to cover the gap in funding through July 1, 2013. If the two referendum questions to allow table games at Twin River and Newport Grand gain voter approval, the gambling program will be fully funded by the two casinos as outlined in legislation this past year.
“When the speaker and I learned that this funding was inadvertently eliminated, we immediately found the resources to restore these essential services,” said Paiva Weed. “The Senate remains deeply committed to ensuring that those who have compulsive or problem gambling addictions receive the necessary support to seek treatment and overcome this challenge.”
According to John E. Taylor Jr., chairman of the Twin River board of directors, when the two casino properties learned of the gap in program funds, there was an immediate sense that all parties needed to come together to find a funding solution,” said Taylor. “We take the issue of problem gambling very seriously and over the years have been deeply involved with all of the stakeholders in compulsive and problem gambling programs. But we can and will do more. This includes not only work within Rhode Island, but a collaboration with bordering states to address cross border gambling addiction issues as new casinos are built in the region.”
Diane Hurley, owner of Newport Grand, echoed the need for collaboration and continuity of the problem gambling program, “We have never wavered from our commitment to help those in need and feel strongly that there should be no gap in any funding to support these programs. We will continue to work with our partners in this endeavor.”