Connecticut’s Legislature may send two casino-related bills to Governor Dannel Malloy, local media reported. Both proposals provide for expansion of the state’s gambling industry at a time when neighboring Massachusetts is building casino resorts that are expected to steal clientele from Connecticut’s two existing Las Vegas-style gambling properties.
One of the legislative pieces is the long-deliberated Senate bill that, if eventually signed into law, will give the state’s two federally recognized tribes – the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots – the right to jointly build and operate an off-reservation casino in the town of East Windsor.
The gambling venue will be intended to stop the outflow of casino patrons that are expected to head to MGM Springfield once it opens doors. Currently under development by Las Vegas casino giant MGM Resorts International, the $950-million resort is set to be launched in September 2018. Connecticut’s two tribes had previously expressed hopes that they would be able to complete their plan before that.
The Mohegan Tribe currently operates the Mohegan Sun casino and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe manages Foxwoods Resort Casino. Both properties are located on reservation land.
The bill related to the East Windsor casino passed a Senate vote and now needs the green light from the House. Representatives of Connecticut’s lower legislative house said after a Saturday meeting with their Senate colleagues that they will probably not amend the legislative piece.
If the House amends the bill, the changes will have to be approved by the Senate and this will slow down the process of passing the piece into law. However, Connecticut’s Legislature is on a tight schedule as it is set to adjourn on June 7.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz told media that the House is currently working on the provisions of a separate casino bill that may, too, be sent to Gov. Malloy. The proposal may provide for the construction of a boutique casino in the capital Hartford, the addition of slot machines at off-track betting properties and more.
However, Rep. Aresimowicz pointed out that their bill will not re-open the bidding process for a third casino in the state in a manner that would allow non-tribal operators to apply for a license. MGM Resorts has been lobbying for a new call for bids to be announced and has expressed interest in building a casino in Connecticut’s southern part, instead of its northern part where the two tribe’s casino is proposed to be constructed.
If the bill supporting the construction of the state’s first commercial casino gains the necessary support in the House, it is likely that it will be signed into law by Gov. Malloy. Connecticut’s highest ranking official has recently indicated that this would be the only casino bill he would put his signature to.