Casino Stalker | Connecticut | Legislation

Connecticut tribes see movement on bill to authorize new casino

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe are seeking to convert a vacant movie theater in East Windsor, Connecticut, into a gaming facility. Image: Google Maps

Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes are one step closer to a new casino in the state.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe joined forces in a bid to address competition from neighboring Massachusetts. SB 957, a bill that authorizes their proposed casino, cleared its first hurdle on Wednesday.

The tribes need approval from the state Legislature because they are pursuing the facility outside of the framework of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. But some lawmakers and officials have questioned the legality of the project.

The New England Casino Race: Tribal and commercial gaming facilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Attorney General George Jepsen (D) in fact issued an opinion on Monday that said a third casino could jeopardize existing revenue sharing agreements. Both tribes share 25 percent of slot machines revenues with the state but they insist their jointly-operated casino won't violate the arrangements.

The tribes are planning to build a $300 million casino in East Windsor. The site is only about 13 miles from Springfield, Massachusetts, where MGM Resorts International, a non-Indian firm, is building a $950 million commercial facility.

MGM expects to debut its project in the fall of 2018. The tribes believe they can finish their casino ahead of that deadline.

Read More on the Story:
Connecticut lawmakers move along 2 casino expansion bills (AP 3/16)
Bills on Proposed Third Casino Sail Through General Assembly Committee (NBC 3/16)
Connecticut one step closer to building casino minutes from MGM Springfield (WWLP 3/16)
Competing Bills On Third Casino To Be Considered By Lawmakers (The Hartford Courant 3/15)
Attorney general says tribes' third-casino plan risky (The New London Day 3/13)
Jepsen sees ‘not insubstantial’ risk in casino expansion (Hartford Business 3/13)

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