Lawmakers vote for transportation funding lockbox
- Author: Marjorie Miles Jun 09, 2017,
Jun 09, 2017, 9:18
The Connecticut House has approved a bill that was crafted to garner more support for another bill authorizing a tribal casino in East Windsor. The bill previously passed the Senate and now heads to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's desk. The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate.
With less than two days left in the legislative session, the House of Representatives is preparing for a debate on legalizing marijuana.
Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said families of casino workers at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun were "breathing a sigh of relief" that the legislation passed.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (ehr-eh-SIM'-oh-wits) is calling the situation "fluid", saying nothing has been finalized.
The two tribes operate Connecticut's Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, respectively.
A huge majority (103-46) of state lawmakers agreeing with the tribes that the only way to save thousands of casino related jobs in Southeast Connecticut when the MGM casino complex opens in Springfield is to allow another casino facility in East Windsor. Some legislators supported the tribes' proposal in an effort to protect jobs at their southeastern CT casinos and other lawmakers wanted to create an open casino bidding process that could lead to other casino developers possibly building gambling facilities elsewhere in CT.
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The tribes' deal has produced $7 billion for the state since 1993 and is projected to be worth about $260 million this year, but it has been shrinking since hitting a high of $430 million in 2007 and is expected to continue to fall once MGM Springfield opens.
MGM has built its opposition to the tribes's casino around a pitch that CT, deep in the throes of a budget crisis, could do better by opening Fairfield County to competition for a casino resort that could appeal to the NY market.
The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes have argued that the East Windsor gaming establishment is necessary to protect the state's economy and revenue from competition posed by MGM Springfield. He says lawmakers are still negotiating an alternative gambling-related bill.
Earlier in the week, lawmakers discussed the possibility of allowing additional slot machines in off-track betting facilities in Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury, and a so-called boutique casino for high-rollers in Hartford.
Uri Clinton, MGM's Senior Vice-president, told reporters after the vote, "It's probably the worst example of how to form casino legislation".