Casino interest in Connecticut perked up, the state legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee will conduct public hearings Thursday morning on two gaming bills that address a third casino for the state operated by a joint venture between the state’s two tribal nations in East Windsor, see here, and another bill to open up the process, see here. The public hearings will take place 8:30am to 5pm in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
Language from the second bill:
To (1) regulate the operation of a casino gaming facility in Connecticut, (2) require the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to develop and issue a request for proposals for the development, management and operation of a casino gaming facility in Connecticut, and (3) permit the commissioner to issue one casino gaming license.
MGM Resorts, constructing a nearly $1 billion casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the state’s two tribal nations are vying for casino consumer action in northern Connecticut. MGM, protecting its turf, argues the economic benefits of a casino in southwestern Connecticut far outweigh the impact of a third casino in the northern part of the state. MGM has launched a paid media campaign, “Better Choice,” to hammer home its message.
The tribal nations argue if you do that you break the compact that provides the state 25 percent of the slot action. MGM counters that compact was for tribal land. The East Windsor location selected by the tribal nations is not. So this thing, depending how it shakes out with the legislature, could end up in court.
Bridgeport State House members Chris Rosario and Ezequiel Santiago have been vocal proponents of opening up the process to put Bridgeport in play for a casino. Opponents argue that ship has sailed.