Narragansett Tribe Files Complaint Against Twin River Casino

The attorney general’s office is investigating whether the parent organization of Twin River is engaged in “unfair trade practices” and “false marketing” by calling the Lincoln gaming establishment a “casino,” following a complaint made by the Narragansett Indian Tribe.

In a consumer complaint filed on August 31st, 2009 with the attorney general’s office, Narragansett Tribal Councilman Randy R. Noka alleged that UTGR Incorporated violated the state law by “prominently marketing itself as a casino facility in print and electronic media.

Noka stated in the complaint that he wrote to the attorney general’s office cognizant and thankful of the fact that the Narragansett Tribe receives a small portion of the video lottery terminal earnings from Twin River but no one should be above the law and fair is fair.

Under the state gaming law, state voters have to approve a constitutional amendment for privately owned and managed casinos. UTGR Inc. has not sought a constitutional modification to operate as a casino facility. Noka also stated in the complaint that he is surprised and disappointed that neither Governor Carcieri nor the attorney general’s office have acted to order Twin River to cease calling itself as a casino facility in Rhode Island.

He added that Governor Carcieri was vehemently opposed against casino when the Narragansett’s were a seeking a casino themselves and often referred to casino facilities as creating “economic wastelands”.

The Narragansett tribe sough approval in 2009 to construct a casino facility in West Warwick but state voters dismissed it 63.05% (241,986) to 36.95% (141,806). Patti Doyle, the spokesperson for Twin River, said that the state law does not apply to how you market yourself on your marketing and promotional material. Doyle added that while under the existing gaming law Twin River is not a casino facility from a promotional perspective, they have the right to characterize the facility as they see fit.

Doyle said that for marketing purposes, they are just bound by definition. Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch stated that his office will study the complaint of the Narragansett tribe in the same manner as other allegations regarding unfair trade practices and they will determine a response following the study.

But Lynch said that Twin River’s pending bankruptcy may affect the study since there is a federal court order barring any civil case against the company. UTGR Inc. filed for Chapter Eleven bankruptcy on June 23rd, 2009.