Twin River drafting legislation to create a new liquor license

Twin River drafting legislation to create a new liquor license

LINCOLN - Twin River Casino could soon have its own kind of liquor license that caters specifically to gaming establishments.

Casino officials went before the Town Council last week to discuss the possibility of submitting legislation to the General Assembly that would create a new liquor license category allowing liquor service until 2 a.m. on weekends and nights before holidays.

While that is currently allowed in Lincoln thanks to a six-month pilot program that expires with a sunset provision in September, the casino's attorney W. Mark Russo pointed out that the current ordinance language would require the casino to renew the terms of extended service hours with the town every six months.

Russo spoke with town officials on April 14 during a Town Council work session, and again the next night as part of a submitted communication during the council's regular meeting, so there was no opportunity for a vote.

Rather, he informed the council that as long as there were no strong objections, Twin River would begin drafting legislation that would allow them to substitute their current BV license with a new license, perhaps called a BC license for casinos.

No one voiced any opposition, and the council talked about scheduling a special meeting to vote.

Russo stressed that the town's Board of License Commissioners would still control the granting of that license, and Twin River would still have to meet all existing liquor service requirements.

"This bill, as it is, is nothing more than enabling legislation," Town Council President Keith Macksoud said. "It doesn't force our hand. I would not have opposition to it."

Councilor Arthur Russo said he viewed the enabling legislation favorably.

"If anything, it gives your business a little stability," he said.

Steve Lefebvre, Twin River director of security, said extended service hours have not caused any incidents at the casino since the pilot began March 1.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's going off perfectly," he said.

Lefebvre said he has not noticed an uptick in the number of people coming into the casino for that reason. As predicted when Twin River originally proposed the extension, people are simply staying longer, he said.

Twin River Vice President and General Manager Craig Sculos, said that extra hour of service brings in approximately $1,200 to $1,300 per night, which he said "is not a massive amount of sales."

He also said there is typically not a rush to line up at the bar for last call, as patrons start leaving after 1 a.m.

"There's no last-minute rush; there's no queuing up at the bars," Sculos said. "It's orderly."