Published: Fri, June 09, 2017
Medical | By Dorothy Lyons

Connecticut House approves casino exclusivity bill, sends it to Senate

Connecticut House approves casino exclusivity bill, sends it to Senate

CT lawmakers have passed legislation that could eventually prevent state transportation funds from being spent on other projects.

Rodney Butler, his Pequots' counterpart, said, "Tonight the Connecticut General Assembly passed one of the most significant jobs initiatives of the legislative session".

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, had opposed mixed-martial arts bills for years at the request of organized labor, which was fighting with a non-union casino owner in Las Vegas, who has a major financial interest in the fights.

Contending that that the company's goal has always been to have the chance to compete to do business in the state, MGM officials added that they will continue to legally challenge the measure, which cleared the Connecticut House early Wednesday and now heads to Gov. Dannel Malloy for consideration.

The State of CT missed an enormous opportunity to put in place an open, transparent, and competitive casino process which could have resulted in as much as $1 billion in economic development.

A third tribal casino in CT is getting closer to becoming a reality. A companion bill that helps the pari-mutuel industry by expanding the number of available off-track betting licenses from 18 to 24, passed on a closer vote of 77 to 72.

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"I'm glad it's nearly over", said Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who has been working to broker an agreement that could satisfy members of the House.

Unlike the early years of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, when the two casinos grew and prospered in eastern CT with little gambling competition in the Northeast, the tribes are fighting a holding action meant to mitigate the loss of business in a market approaching saturation.

MGM Resorts International expressed disappointment Wednesday in CT lawmakers' passage of a bill that would allow the state's two federally recognized tribes to open a gaming establishment near the MA border in East Windsor. The tribes have warned that thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in slot machine revenues to the state could be at risk if the border casino was not approved. "With this vote, we have all demonstrated a commitment to protecting the state of CT and the good jobs of its residents", he said.

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.

The East Windsor casino would be about 20 minutes away from the MGM casino that's being built right here in Springfield.

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