House Oks bill to expand off-track betting

Posted June 09, 2017

The Connecticut house passed the casino bill early Wednesday morning.

These proposals come days before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn its regular legislative session at midnight on Wednesday.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been pushing for the so-called transportation lockbox.

The Connecticut state senate approved the third casino last month.

"Connecticut 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, the creation of thousands of jobs and a licensing fee paid to the state of up to $100 million", Uri Clinton, the senior vice president and legal counsel for MGM Resorts International, said in a statement.

Right before the ending of this year's legislative session, local lawmakers managed to give the green light to the tribal gaming resorts' owners to establish a casino in East Windsor.

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

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said legalization remains alive, though, because of the possibility of tax revenue.

The Mohegan Tribal Chairman, Kevin Brown, expressed how families of casino workers at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun were "breathing a sigh of relief" at the passing of the new legislation.

Early Wednesday, the Connecticut House of Representatives voted 103-46 in favor of a bill that allows the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a casino in East Windsor to compete with the MGM casino.

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

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

The MGM Resorts casino that's now under construction in the western MA city of Springfield will likely face competition from another casino just 16 miles away. Analysts project the slots revenue will be worth $266 million again next year, then fall to $199 million after MGM Springfield opens.

If a vote count by House leaders is correct, the biggest remaining complication could be an amendment that Rep. Chris Davis, R-Ellington, whose district includes East Windsor, was considering proposing: It would make approval of the casino contingent on a local referendum.