Bally’s Sues R.I. Host Cities Over Tax Bills

The Rhode Island-based company that owns two casinos in the state is suing the host towns of Tiverton (l.) and Lincoln. Bally’s claims they overtaxed the casinos when they were forced to close due to Covid-19.

Bally’s two Rhode Island casinos have sued the towns of Lincoln and Tiverton over tax bills assessed when they were forced to close due to the Covid pandemic.

The Tiverton Casino & Hotel and Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort filed separate lawsuits in Superior Court. Patti Doyle, a spokeswoman for Bally’s, formerly Twin River, said the company seeks tax stabilization agreements with both towns.

Such an agreement would smooth out the tax assessment over a number of years, no matter whether valuation rises or falls. Doyle told the Boston Globe, “That process is underway and ongoing,” she said. They hope to reach a deal out of court that would “reflect the realities of the Covid-19 restrictions and closures.”

The lawsuits argue that the cities did not take into account the economic hits the casinos took when the pandemic forced them to close. They were closed for several weeks during the spring and winter of 2020. When allowed to reopen, it was with restrictions in capacity and times of operation.

The towns should have taken “economic obsolescence” into account, claims the lawsuit. In other words, a loss of value not connected to the property itself.

Tiverton’s attorneys counter that they did take “economic obsolescence” into account, but chose to disregard it. It rejected several appeals by the casino.

A similar appeal was also rejected by the city of Lincoln’s Tax Board of Assessment Review.

Bally’s seeks to recoup the loss of taxes they said they overpaid, plus penalties and interest.