The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes have been working to create a third casino in the state of Connecticut off tribal lands. The two tribes would operate the venue together and have narrowed down their site to one in East Windsor or Windsor Locks. During the process, the tribes have faced opposition and now it seems the fight will continue as a new coalition has been created to fight the expansion of gaming off tribal lands in the state.
A new twelve group alliance has been created that includes Senator Tony Hwang. The new coalition is reportedly non-partisan and stands in opposition to the legalization of a commercial casino being created off-reservation lands in the state. Titled the Coalition against Casino Expansion in Connecticut, the new organization held a press conference to announce their intentions to try to provide information to the public as to the perceived costs of more legalized gambling in the state, both socially and economically.
It is currently unclear which if any commercial interests or lobbies are encouraging the effort. Senator Hwang has been an outspoken critic of gambling expansion since soon after he was assumed office in 2015, and coalition member, Robert Steele, a former congressman in the state has long opposed gambling there.
The press conference took place at the Legislative Office Building located in Hartford and included the new coalition stating that they are opposed to any efforts to open a commercial casino in Hartford. The twelve member group gave twelve reasons as to why are they are opposed to the casino expansion in the state.
The coalition stated that they believe an economist’s report indicating long-term social and economic costs, that a state-run casino would levy a regressive tax on under-income residents, they question whether job and revenue projections could be met due to competition, they state that the new casino may simply cannibalize existing operations, cause addiction and attendant difficulties, take advantage of vulnerable persons, weaken local communities and lower property values, encourage gambling, and other concerns mostly specific to Hartford.
According to a report in the Easton Courier, coalition members include:
- Connecticut Catholic Conference
- Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ
- Episcopal Church in Connecticut
- Connecticut League of Women Voters
- Family Institute of Connecticut
- New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America
- Connecticut Association for Human Services
- Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport
- Advocacy Unlimited, Inc.
- Farmington Valley American Muslim Center
- Resident Bishop New England Conference of the United Methodist Church
- American Baptist Churches of Connecticut