Third Connecticut Casino Still on Hold

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A battle for who will be able to build a casino in Connecticut is still going on. Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes are attempting to expand, but they are also on hold due to the competitive bidding bill that is currently filed with the State Capitol.

The expansion bill, which is set for discussion on March 8, is asking for a law to be repealed. The law gave the tribes the ability to start construction on a joint venture casino. The casino would be on land in East Windsor, which is not tribally owned. The Hartford Courant stated lawmakers in Bridgeport are attempting to get the repeal of Act 17-89 pushed through, which would allow the East Windsor location.

Thursday, March 1, 2018, Rep Joe Verrengia, of the Public Safety Committee, spoke to media about the scrapping of the bill. The new law would require $50 million in a licensing fee, which was not a part of the East Windsor Expansion Act.

To have a legitimate competitive process for a third Connecticut Casino, the East Windsor casino project cannot be a part of the overall discussions. It is also an issue with the licensing fee information not being mentioned in the bill.

The New Bill

The new bill explains what needs to be in the casino proposal to be accepted for the competitive bidding process. The companies bidding must have a facility that will allow for 2,000 people to work. The winning bid will also agree to 25 percent of the revenues from gaming to be given to the state. The proposal has to include at least 10 percent of slot machine revenue. It means the casino would need to have enough slot machines to make an income that would be worthwhile to both the operator and the states. The deadline for all casino bids is January 1, 2019.

Senator Tim Larson, Public Safety Committee co-chairman, is in favor of the two tribes running a casino. However, he did agree there is something off about the Verrengia proposal, and he does wish for the tribe to take part in the competitive bidding process. He feels the MGM Resorts operator was behind the repeal of 17-89 as a way to delay construction of a casino in Springfield.

The Springfield casino is a rival location being built. Larson stated to media that he was upset by the idea that MGM is possibly trying to postpone the building process on casinos due to competitive reasons.

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