Final hours of legislative session are underway - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Final hours of legislative session are underway

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The proposed third casino would be built in East Windsor (Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes) The proposed third casino would be built in East Windsor (Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Wednesday is the last day of the legislative session, and lawmakers are still divided on several big bills, like tolls, marijuana, and casinos.

What’s making matters worse are amendments are being added at the last minute, which can hurt legislation.

This is the case with a bill to allow two Indian tribes to build a third casino in East Windsor.

"The last I knew, we were looking at a slot presence in the other cities with a possible boutique type set up in Hartford, that's the last I knew, nothing has been signed off on,” said Democratic State Rep. and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.

There is nothing formal, but side deals are being tossed around by some House democrats to allow slot machines at off-track betting in Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury, as well as a "boutique" casino in Hartford.

Making this more complicated is a massive ad campaign by MGM, who is trying to stop plans in East Windsor. They’re pushing for a casino in Bridgeport.

"What really should be happening here should be a process where everyone can put their full proposal on the table and not side deals to try and sweeten the pot for certain people,” said Uri Clinton, MGM legal counsel.

MGM is suing the state and the deal being carved out with the two tribes, especially the side deals, could jeopardize the current agreement with the two existing Connecticut casinos.

As far as sweetening the pot, the more that's added, the less likely the bill will pass. 

The House Minority Leader says there's only one amendment she supports.

"That was the premise when we first supported this bill. If a town, whatever town it is, wanted the casino and they supported it then it would come back to the legislature and we would vote on it. I think towns have to be supportive of it going there in the first place,” said Republican State Rep. and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides.

Town rules in East Windsor do not require a town referendum to vote a casino but some lawmakers feel there should be.

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