The decision as to where to locate a casino near the Massachusetts border may be later in 2016 than originally planned for by the states two federally recognized tribes.
The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes’ original plan was to make the announcement regarding the site by December 15, and to have ready a proposal for the General Assembly’s consideration upon its return to the state Capitol in February, but that is unlikely to happen now. After a town meeting on December 11 with town officials, MMCT Venture said it needed additional time to decide. It began its search on October 1, with proposals being due on November 6, and the deadline for choosing a location was December 8. However, last month the chairmen of the tribes that run Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun casinos said that the decision deadline can be flexible.
On Wednesday Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the tribe’s MMCT Venture, said the proposed locations in Windsor Locks, East Windsor, East Hartford and Hartford were still being reviewed by the tribal entity , and local approvals had yet to be approved. Doba said once the process is complete the necessary decision will be made. He also made mention that the tribe still intends to have its facility opened prior to MGM Resorts planned $950 million casino in Springfield, Massachusetts opens in the fall of 2018, according to the Associate Press.
Currently, the two tribes have a revenue-sharing agreement with Connecticut, one that gives them exclusive casino gambling rights in the state. A concern for some state legislators is that MMCT Venture’s proposal for a third jointly run tribal casino might adversely affect that agreement. Proponent of the proposed casino project, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said the tribes have yet to inform him of what legislation may be needed next session, but was unconcerned about the delay.
Public affairs firm Global Strategy Group was hired in November, according to state records filed with the Office of State Ethics. One of three lobbyists representing MGM in the next session is former top adviser to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The document also shows the firm is expected to be paid $62,000 by MGM, in addition to other fees, which includes expenses and sales taxes, for grassroots work. Meanwhile, documents show lobbying firm Sullivan & LeShane Inc. has been hired again by MGM for the upcoming legislative session. MGM anticipates paying the firm $150,000 plus $45,000 reimbursement for expenses and sales taxes.