A pair of rival casino bills have breezed through a Connecticut General Assembly committee, setting the stage for a showdown debate over the future of gambling in the state. Both bills relate to the ongoing discourse surrounding proposals for a third casino in the region.
The second requires the state Departments of Consumer Protection and Economic and Community Development to craft a process for requesting proposals from developers to build a commercial casino anywhere in Connecticut. That bill spells out certain financial benefits to the state, including a licensing fee of no less than $250m.
Earlier in the month Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen spoke about the prospect of a third casino in the state off tribal land, writing there would be an “increased likelihood” that a court may side against the tribes if they were given exclusive rights to the construction.
The tribes have stated that they need such a facility to disarm competition from a MGM resorts project being constructed 13 miles from East Windsor, across the Massachusetts border. They argue their site would act as a buffer to keep gambling spend in-state.
MGM contend that awarding licensing rights to tribes without an open application process would be illegal, and argue that a third casino would be better situated in the southwest of the state in order to maximise New York catchment.