Proposed bill to allow someone besides tribes to open a casino


Two bills that would allow a third casino to be built in Connecticut moved forward in the Connecticut General Assembly on Wednesday afternoon.

A senate bill, which allows the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a casino in East Windsor, was approved by a vote of 20-5. A house bill, which opens a casino to request for proposal process that allows opening bids, was approved by a vote of 21-4.

Both bills left the public safety committee on Wednesday. The bills head to the full Senate and House of Representatives.

Colchester Rep. Linda Orange told The Associated Press "it's a much bigger issue" than one committee's vote.

The bill No. 957 would "regulate the operation of a casino gaming facility in Connecticut" as well as "authorize MMCT Venture, LLC, to operate a casino gaming facility in Connecticut subject to certain conditions."

"We thank the Public Safety Committee for continuing this important conversation. There are more than 9,000 jobs and million in tax revenue at stake for the state. Today's vote takes us one step closer to keeping both right here in Connecticut," Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Many people are promising many things this year. What we are promising is real - it's founded on an actual track record of partnership with both the state and every city and town in Connecticut, one we hope to continue in good standing for generations to come. We thank the committee for their vote today," Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown said in a statement on Wednesday.

MGM Resorts international also released a statement on the committee's approval.

"The committee’s approval of the competitive bill reflects the realization that it offers Connecticut the best way to achieve the greatest reward with the least risk. A market-driven competitive bidding process is how Connecticut generates more revenue, creates more jobs, and drives greater economic development. And an open, transparent, competitive process removes the significant risks outlined by the Attorney General that are inherent in a no-bid, non-competitive award that could jeopardize revenue streams critical to state and municipal budgets. As the legislative process continues, those facts will continue to speak volumes to legislators and to taxpayers," Senior Vice President and Legal Counsel at MGM Resorts international Uri Clinton said.

At the end of February, East Windsor was selected as the town for the state's third gaming facility, which will be a joint venture between the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

Under the agreement, The town will get $8.5 million with $5.5 million in property taxes and the remaining $3 million to pay for extra police, fire and even education costs in anticipation of an increased population.

The plan is to convert the old Showcase Cinema right off of Interstate 91 into the multi-million dollar casino destination. The theater has been closed for several years.

To read more on the bill, click here.

To learn more about the MMCT Venture, click here.

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