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RI Governor under investigation for 'special treatment' of IGT

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is facing an official ethics inquiry for her cozy relationship with International Gaming Technology (IGT). Raimondo is accused of providing the international gaming technology powerhouse with a sweetheart deal, no-bid, monopoly on the Rhode Island lottery and slot machines in a deal worth more than $1 billion.
At the heart of the matter is Raimondo’s relationship with IGT lobbyist Donald Sweitzer, with whom she works closely at the Democratic Governors Association. Raimondo is the current head of that organization and Sweitzer, who served as IGT’s Chairman for 20 years, is the group’s volunteer treasurer.
IGT was recently awarded a 20-year, no-bid, contract extension to run Rhode Island’s lottery and slot machines. As part of the deal, IGT has agreed to pay Rhode Island $25 million, upgrade their existing slot and lottery infrastructure, and keep RI residents employed at the lottery. It’s all pretty basic stuff that any gaming services business could provide.
So why wasn’t the deal opened to competition so that providers like Twin Rivers or Scientific Games could bid for it and, presumably, create a better deal for Rhode Island taxpayers? According to a report on, Riamondo nixed Twin Rivers because they are backed by a hedge fund. IGT, oddly enough, is also backed by a hedge fund.
Republican lawmakers lauded the announcement of the Ethics Commission investigation. In a press release, reported on by the Providence Journal, GOP reps said, “The Rhode Island GOP is pleased that the Ethics Commission will investigate Governor Gina Raimondo for the special treatment her administration has shown IGT while Raimondo and Donald Sweitzer, a lobbyist for IGT, have been associates in the Democratic Governors Association.”