Connecticut House Debates Bill That Would Lead To Tolls

  • Connecticut House Debates Bill That Would Lead To Tolls

Connecticut House Debates Bill That Would Lead To Tolls

A huge majority (103-46) of state lawmakers agreeing with the tribes that the only way to save thousands of casino related jobs in Southeast Connecticut when the MGM casino complex opens in Springfield is to allow another casino facility in East Windsor.

While the so-called "sweetener" bill was seen as a way to secure the votes needed in the House of Representatives to successfully pass legislation authorizing the tribes to build a border casino in East Windsor, some complained about the expansion of gambling.

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.

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The state's two federally recognized tribes - the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots - are running one casino each.

Uri Clinton, MGM's Senior Vice-president, told reporters after the vote, "It's probably the worst example of how to form casino legislation". In a separate bill, the House will address some of the requests by many undecided lawmakers in recent days. The Kent based Schaghticoke tribe, which is also threatening legal action, is urging the governor to veto the bill.

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes hope the new, jointly owned facility will help them compete with the MGM Resorts Casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. The tribes will pay the state a 25 percent tax on the gaming revenues, from both slots and table games. MGM appealed the decision in its suit to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where a decision in pending. The number of available OTB licenses would increase from 18 to 24.

Opening gaming facility near the NY market, he contended, "could sustain a meaningful investment and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual economic activity for the benefit of every citizen in the state - far exceeding the alternative being considered, by bringing more than double the number of jobs and triple the revenue".

The bill also allowed the DEEP and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority to determine if it's in the best interest of ratepayers to allow Millstone to sell power directly to utility companies.

Opposed to the bill were Republicans Devin Carney of Old Saybrook, Holly Cheeseman of East Lyme, Doug Dubitsky of Chaplin, Mike France of Ledyard and Kathleen McCarty of Waterford.