Published: Fri, June 09, 2017
Medical | By Sammy Miller

After Legislative Approval For Third Casino, Court Battle Looms

After Legislative Approval For Third Casino, Court Battle Looms

Wednesday's early morning vote came less than 23 hours before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its regular legislative session. The bill, which already passed in the Senate, now heads to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Under one of the bills included in the approved gaming package, a new entertainment sharing agreement between the two tribes which now own and operate the Mohegan Sun and the Foxwoods Resort Casino gaming resorts.

Klarides is the minority leader in the tightly divided House of Representatives.

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.

Representative Christopher Davis, a Republican from East Windsor, voted for the bills even though he would have preferred there had been an open bid for a third casino.

Additionally, the legislation would require the state Department of Consumer Protection to set up a framework for possible sports betting.

"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.

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MGM has pushed aggressively for open bidding to expand casino gambling in the state.

The same bill also creates a new entertainment sharing agreement between the tribes - owners and operators of Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun - and entertainment arenas across CT with 5,000 or more seats.

The tribes would pay no licensing fee under the bill approved Wednesday, only an annual tax equal to 25 percent of gross revenues from table games and slots. It also alleged the act violates the Constitution's Commerce Clause by restricting the RFP process to a joint company formed by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes.

Earlier in the week, lawmakers discussed the possibility of allowing additional slot machines in OTB facilities in Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury, and a so-called boutique casino for high-rollers in Hartford.

MGM International, which is now building a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, is also lobbying hard to be allowed to make a proposal in CT.

Uri Clinton, MGM's Senior Vice-president, told reporters after the vote, "It's probably the worst example of how to form casino legislation". East Windsor is a short drive away from Springfield, where MGM is building their casino.

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