In Connecticut, the tribal joint venture that is hoping to open a small satellite casino in the community of East Windsor reportedly won a victory over giant rival MGM Resorts International late last week after a legislative committee approved a measure that could see the eastern state initiate a competitive bidding process for a fourth casino license.
According to a report from the Hartford Courant newspaper, MMCT Venture is a joint enterprise of the casino-operating Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and won state approval in July to bring its provisionally-named Mohegan Sun Foxwoods East Windsor venue to a site in northern Hartford County. This $300 million property with its 100,000 sq ft gaming floor has purportedly been designed to protect the tribes’ existing Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino enterprises by serving as a bulwark against the MGM Springfield development that is set to open in the nearby Massachusetts city of Springfield in September.
Despite obtaining Hartford’s consent last year, MMCT Venture is still waiting to receive federal approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs subordinate of the United States Department of the Interior, which has reportedly given MGM Resorts International enough time to lobby against the plan by pushing for legislators to immediately initiate a competitive bidding process for the Mohegan Sun Foxwoods East Windsor’s license. The Las Vegas-based operator has purportedly argued that it was unfairly excluded from submitting an offer for the state’s third casino license and wants to use this authorization to instead build its $675 million waterfront MGM Bridgeport facility in eastern Fairfield County.
However, the newspaper reported that a compromise measure passed by Connecticut’s bi-partisan Public Safety and Security Committee via a 22-to-3 vote on Friday would reportedly see MMCT Venture keep its East Windsor license and also initiate a competitive bidding process for a fourth casino in which MGM Resorts International could participate.
The Hartford Courant reported that the measure is now due to face an ‘uncertain future’ in front of the Connecticut State Senate and the Connecticut House of Representatives although it cited the Co-Chair for the Public Safety and Security Committee, Democratic State Senator Tim Larson (pictured), as detailing that there is support for the compromise among many legislators.
“After talking to colleagues, it was important for them to at least have the opportunity to vote for it and I think the repeal amendment that I have in here keeps the process moving forward,” Larson reportedly told the newspaper.
The Hartford Courant reported that the other Co-Chair for the Public Safety and Security Committee, Joe Verrengia from the Connecticut House of Representatives, proclaimed that the recently-approved measure would allow the state to ‘hit the reset button’ although ‘the question of the day’ remains whether MGM Resorts International will be interested in bidding for the fourth casino license.
“I thought by repealing the East Windsor piece it would dilute the intent of the open competitive process,” Verrengia reportedly told the newspaper. “It is what it is now. It’s open competition without the repeal of East Windsor.”