After a winter blizzard dumped 18 inches of snow on Connecticut yesterday and forced the state government to temporarily shut down, governor Dannel Malloy has reportedly announced that things are set to return to normal later today with legislators due to hold a crucial vote on the future of proposed casino expansion legislation.

According to a report from local television broadcaster WTIC-TV, Malloy instituted a temporary state-wide travel ban late Tuesday afternoon and the move forced the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Safety And Security Committee to postpone a vote on the future of enabling legislation that would allow MMCT Venture, which is a joint venture of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, to build a new casino in the town of East Windsor.

However, this travel prohibition has been lifted and the Public Safety And Security Committee is now scheduled to meet later today to decide on the future of the proposed Hartford County venue along with a second measure that would create a competitive process to consider casino expansion.

“We urge residents to allow for extra travel time today to ensure that they arrive at their destinations safely,” read a statement from Malloy. “Road conditions may be icy this morning and motorists are reminded to use their winter driving skills; slow down and allow for extra space between vehicles. I want to especially thank the road crews as well as the first-responders for the job they have done around-the-clock on behalf of the residents of our state.”

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority operates the Mohegan Sun casino resort in south-eastern Connecticut while the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is responsible for the nearby Foxwoods Resort Casino. The pair first announced in 2015 that they were teaming up in order to petition the state government for permission to build a smaller gambling venue that would counter competition from the coming MGM Springfield, which is being built in neighboring Massachusetts by MGM Resorts International and is expected to open in 2019.

However, the proposal for a third tribal casino in Connecticut has encountered opposition from Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International while the eastern state’s Attorney General, George Jepsen, recently explained that authorizing the East Windsor casino could leave Hartford open to lawsuits and jeopardize its current revenue-sharing agreement with the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

2 Responses

  1. Steven Norton

    Connecticut Legislators were smart to approve a companion casino bill; that would permit a casino on the Western side of the State. A location that would be the closest casino to the million plus residents of Westchester and several other NY counties, and would be closer than any current or proposed NY casino. And if the Legislation were for a commercial, rather than a Tribal operation; there would be no need for Federal approval or “Land in Trust” designation, or a State compact. Those that fear that NY would approve table games for Aqueduct or Yonkers, have to understand that a CT casino near to the NY border, would be much more convenient to Westchester and Orange Co. than Yonkers, and would not have the same traffic concerns of driving South, toward Manhattan.
    And CT could introduce a tax like Pennsylvania’s that would produce State revenues, that should equal or exceed the amount now paid by the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, who pay 25% of their slot win. This $260 million annually, is expected to decline with the MGM Springfield casino. Plus a casino on the Western border, would not have the same impact on Foxwood and Mohegan Sun’s existing casino win, as a 4th casino serving the Greater Hartford market. And a commercial License, could be bid on by the CT Tribes, as well as other gaming operators, possibly providing a large up front fee, like PA.
    The current PA tax rate, I refer to, is 55% on slot win, and 16% on table win; far higher than the current Tribal tax of 25%, only on slot win. And the jobs created at a West CT casino would far exceed the potential jobs at a casino in East Windsor, serving the same market as MGM. and the two existing CT casinos. And I expect the two Tribes will undoubtedly keep much of the Hartford market, because they are only 15 minutes further away, than MGM; and the Tribes offer many more slots and tables, plus more dining and entertainment options, golf, and other attractions; that MGM cannot duplicate.
    And even if the revenue share from the two Tribes, were reduced, they would still need to contribute to nearby communities, that provide various services to the Reservations.
    To accede to the Tribes effort, for a regional casino on I-91, near MGM, puts the issue in the hands of the Federal Government, since any site in the Hartford area, is non Tribal Reservation land, like Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. And the Land in Trust process could take years; if opposition arises, like in Taunton, MA. There the Wampanoag Tribe already have a compact with the State, but are still awaiting “Land in Trust” designation from the Feds; a process delayed by various lawsuits. Lawsuits that would be expected, if the CT Legislature, and Governor, were to approve the proposed casino with Mohegan and Foxwoods.

    • Lars Jones

      Hello, Steve. Thank you for your continuing contributions to our news service. Nearly every comment has been well-informed and concise, giving our readers perspectives they may have otherwise missed. What is your opinion on the NY licenses currently under embargo? Do you expect Empire City/Yonkers to open a full-scale casino in Westchester? I believe they have indicated a desire to do so. Does that change the metrics of your observation, if that is where they plan to compete? It’s a fairly complicated matter and we appreciate you sharing your insights.


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