The Connecticut House of Representatives voted early on Friday in favor of a proposed legislation that would allow the state’s two federally recognized tribes to build and manage together a new casino. Proponents of the bill commented that it would help Connecticut fight competition coming from neighboring states.
Although the proposed legislation met some strong opposition, a total of 88 positive votes were eventually cast against 55 negative ones. The bill is now to be reviewed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
If signed into law, it would ask for the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes to reach an agreement with a host community and to hand it to the Legislature for further consideration. Rep. Stephen Dargan, Co-chairman of the Public Safety Committee, pointed out that the fact the bill advanced in the Senate speaks volumes about Connecticut’s intention to protect casino jobs within the state.
According to a consultant hired by the two tribes, the state’s gambling venues would lose about 9,000 jobs to competition from MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, which is currently under construction.
SB 1090 is a revised version of a proposal that would have allowed the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans to open up to three casinos across Connecticut in an attempt to blunt competition coming from neighboring states. Attorney General George Jepsen, however, voiced concerns that the former legislation would have prompted certain legal challenges and risked the agreement for revenue sharing between the tribes and the state.
Under the latest proposal, which as mentioned above, was approved earlier today, the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes will have to reach an agreement with one host community, where the new casino is to be located. That agreement will need not only state legislative approval but also federal one.
The two tribes released a statement in which they expressed their gratitude and promised that they will invest millions of dollars in finding the best possible site for the new casino in the northern part of the state.
Rep. John Scott (R-Groton) commented that business at both Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun is already down and the Springfield project should not be blamed for this. He also pointed out that the construction of another casino in Connecticut might have a negative impact on residents as this would urge them to spend their money at the new facility.
Rep. Mike France (R-Ledyard), with both casinos located in his district, noted that workers who have been working for the facilities expressed their support for the proposed legislation.