Bally's Tiverton casino seeks lower property value due to pandemic-related economic obsolescence
Bally’s Tiverton Casino & Hotel in Rhode Island is requesting the town to lower its recently reassessed property value, arguing that COVID-19 restrictions decreased the casino’s value to below what the Tax Assessor’s Office has claimed it to be.
Formerly known as Twin River and Tiverton, the property was last assessed at $60,476,900 on Dec. 31, 2020, a depreciation of 6.5% from its previously assessed value, Newport Daily News reports. The company Tiverton used to reassess properties, Northeast Revaluation Group LLC, is one of two companies used by municipalities throughout the state to evaluate property values. In May 2021, a series of tax appeals to the company from Tiverton residents revealed a computer glitch incorrectly evaluated nearly 70% of residential properties in town.
The casino was able to reopen with limited hours and capacity between June and November 2020, but an appeal of the property's tax assessment states the hotel had remained closed throughout the year. In the casino’s original appeal to the Tax Assessor from November 2021, it argues the recent reassessment failed to factor in the business shutdowns and restricted operations mandates issued by the state throughout 2020, which depreciated the property’s value through economic obsolescence.
The appeal states a 61% economic obsolescence factor “would be conservative” and should be applied to the casino property. However, it also states the appellant “seeks to work with the Tax Assessor’s Office to determine an appropriate obsolescence factor” and has also proposed a “concept to stabilize real property taxes in which (Bally’s Tiverton) operates for a period of time to allow the Applicant some recovery while not adversely impacting the municipality.”
David Robert, Tiverton’s tax assessor, denied the casino’s original appeal in January 2022, which was then appealed to the Tiverton Tax Board of Review later that month. Since the new assessment showed a depreciation in value from the casino’s last assessment, Robert told the casino an economic obsolescence factor had been applied during the revaluation.
At the Tax Board of Review hearing for the appeal, a representative for Bally’s Tiverton said the business’ attorney already is working alongside the town to come to an agreement over the property value, but the company wanted to appeal to reserve their rights to take the matter to a higher court. The Board of Review is expected to render a decision within the next two weeks.
Last month, Bally’s Corporation named Bobby Lavan new Chief Financial Officer to replace Steve Capp, who would continue to support the company through the end of April. Lavan has been Senior Vice President, Finance & Investor Relations of Bally’s since May 2021. In this role, he led the acquisition, financing and integration of London-based online software developer and gaming business Gamesys, completed in October last year, as well as the internal and external reporting processes.
Prior to joining Bally’s, Lavan was Chief Financial Officer of NYSE-listed Turning Point Brands. Under this role, he executed multiple international acquisitions, complex systems integration and streamlining reporting analytics.