Bally's on Thursday announced a $5-million donation to the Community College of Rhode Island to develop new curriculum in hospitality, gaming and security industries just months after the state legalized iGaming at Bally's encouragement.
The programs will feature subjects such as casino operations, dealer training, slot technology, cyber security and iGaming operations, which was legalized in June via legislation for which Bally's lobbied. The law, championed by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, allows residents over the age of 21 to use computers and phone apps to play remotely at existing game tables. It's projected to eventually generate $38 million per year for the state's budget.
CCRI students will also be able to take courses in hotel management and culinary arts. All of the new programs are set to be available in Fall 2024. The intent, Ruggerio said, is to create a workforce for existing jobs, which are at Bally's.
"This is a big deal," Gov. Dan McKee said of the donation during a news conference on campus. "It represents the largest gift in CCRI’s history."
McKee said the funds build on his commitment to a trio of initiatives: improving education — a goal he is seeking to accomplish with his Learn365RI program promoting out-of-school learning — and bettering health and earnings.
"One of our three main goals in our administration is raising incomes … to raise incomes we need to make sure our students are getting a top-notch education and they have strong workforce opportunities to set them up for the future."
Former CCRI President Meghan Hughes said the "partnership is about money and it’s about values," describing community college budgets as typically insufficient and tight.
"Bally’s reaps the rewards of investing in its current workforce and investing in its future workforce," Hughes said.
The college's interim president, Rosemary Costigan, said the initiative was developed collaboratively between Bally's and CCRI, and may involve the creation of realistic classroom environments that allow students to go through simulations to train for hospitality and entertainment jobs.
Bally's Corporation Chairman Soo Kim described the investment as the creation of a pipeline for new employees.
"The reality is we're a growing company, we can't find enough good people to help work the hospitality, gaming and leisure jobs that we can provide, and this is an institution that's all about developing the future workforce," Kim said. "So why not work together on this?"
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Bally's gives CCRI $5M for new gaming, hospitality programs