Legislators pass a bill to expand gambling in the state

One vocal opponent, the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, surfaced Wednesday, threatening to file a lawsuit if, as expected, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signs the legislation The Schaghticokes have expressed an interest in developing a casino, but in southwestern CT.

Wednesday's early morning vote came less than 23 hours before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its regular legislative session. Under said amendment, the number of off-track betting licenses will be increased to 24 from 18. The Senate must still approve other aspects of the gambling expansion bill, which is expected to be the first of two-part legislation covering the various particulars of the enlargement of gambling in the state.

The House on Tuesday debated legalizing marijuana for roughly 90 minutes without a vote, as Democrats consider including the bill in their budget proposal. The so-called "satellite casino" which development had been put under consideration was aimed to be located between Hartford and Springfield as a worthy competitor of the MGM Springfield gaming resort that is planned to be officially opened in 2018.

The casino legislation is aimed at being a revenue driving option for the State of CT as it deals with sagging finances.

Connecticut's House of Representatives sent a bill to Gov. Dannel Malloy on Wednesday that would allow the tribes behind the Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun to open a $300 million third casino in the state.

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The two tribes operate Connecticut's Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, respectively.

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.

Under the bill, the two tribes will be required to pay 25% full-year tax on their gambling revenue. Some legislators supported the tribes' proposal in an effort to protect jobs at their southeastern CT casinos and other lawmakers wanted to create an open casino bidding process that could lead to other casino developers possibly building gambling facilities elsewhere in CT.

MMCT, the tribes' joint venture, says the new 200,000 square-foot casino would feature 2,000 slot machines and between 50 and 150 table games, but would have no hotel or other features of a major resort. MGM's new $950m casino is set to open in 2018 and is expected to drive away CT gamblers from their state's tribal casinos.

MGM vowed to continue its fight, turning from the legislature to federal court where it already has a lawsuit challenging a 2015 statute that set up a two-step process for casino expansion.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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