On Thursday, a motion to refer the legislation from the Commerce Committee to the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee failed by a vote of 11-7, according to the Associated Press. The majority vote opposed to the study means it will not move forward.
Lawmakers were urged by the leaders of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to defeat the bill by Rep. Chris Perone, D-Norwalk. They anticipated another study could delay their plans for a casino in northern Connecticut, and the state could potentially lose thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues as gamblers take their business across state lines. A study commissioned by MGM Resorts International was conducted by Oxford Economics. The study indicated that a casino would be more financially beneficial if placed in the southwestern area of the state rather than the Greater Hartford area of Connecticut, as planned by the tribes. Potential sites are still be reviewed by the tribes.
The bill’s chief proponent was Democratic Rep. Chris Perone, the committee’s co-chairman. Perone argued the tribes’ plans would not be affected by the proposed study, but instead would help lawmakers to better decide whether to ultimately approve the casino.
The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes joined forces last year to form MMCT Venture in Connecticut in order to compete with MGM Resorts International’s $950 million mega resort in neighboring Springfield, Massachusetts currently under construction and slated to open in the fall of 2018.
On March 9, the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots launched a new digital advertisement promoting 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 Perone’s bill.