In the midst of the battle over the state’s third casino, the operators of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun launched a new digital advertisement on Wednesday. The ad promotes the campaign of thousands of Connecticut jobs being threatened by a new Springfield gaming venue would be saved by their jointly run casino.
The ad launched on local news sites a day before the legislature’s commerce committee held a hearing on a bill by Rep. Chris Perone, D-Norwalk. The bill calls for a comprehensive study of gambling in Connecticut, as well as, where the best location for a casino might be to optimize economic benefits and jobs for the state, according to the Hartford Courant.
The Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots are pursuing a site in the north-central region of the state under, Special Act 15-7 (pdf), “An Act Concerning Gaming,” signed into law in June. The new bill paves the way for licenses to be granted for the establishment of commercial casinos exclusive to Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes. But the search by MM4CT Venture, the tribes’ official alliance, has been surrounded by an escalating dispute, with battle lines being drawn by supporters and opponents.
On Monday, the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and MGM Resorts International, developer of the $950 million Springfield casino, revealed that the two have been working together, separately in court challenging the law that allowed the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots to search for the new site. The Schaghticokes’ move is being bankrolled by MGM, and former Connecticut Attorney General and U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman has been brought in as their attorney.
On Tuesday, the Schaghticokes turned up the heat when its chief, Richard L. Velky, testified before the public safety commission on legislation that seeks revisions to Connecticut’s bingo laws. Velky asked the committee, which oversees gaming, that the bill be amended to ensure equal consideration be given to the Schaghticokes for any future commercial casino in Connecticut. Last week MGM released a study saying the casino site should be in southwestern Connecticut. MMCT Venture fired back saying MGM’s only reason for saying the Bridgeport area would be better suited for a casino is because it’s farther from Springfield.
MMCT’s 25-second digital ad focuses on Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods’ use of local businesses as suppliers. If features one supplier, Paul’s TV Sales & Services LLC, television supply and repair company in Groton, which supplies both casinos. Gary Paul, the company’s owner, also hosted a press conference in February with tribal leaders that reiterated the message.
The ad promotes the findings of the study conducted by Oxford Economics, commissioned by the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots, that 9,000 plus jobs would be threatened by the new casinos in New York and Massachusetts. The ad closes by saying the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribe’s casino should be built at their own expense; that jobs in Connecticut depend on it.