Bridgeport resident Tom Kelly, a follower of state gaming trends for decades, has submitted written testimony to the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee urging expansion of slot machines into the state’s existing licensed parimutuels including one in Bridgeport. He asserts doing so will not violate the state’s gaming compact with the tribal nations that is a source of concern for casino expansion. CT Post related article here.
Kelly cited precedent for the slot expansion based on an agreement between the Connecticut Lottery Corp. and the state’s two tribal nations that created Keno in the state a few years ago. Kelly added a 2014 transcript from Duke Chen, a legislative analyst, addressing questions regarding the expansion of video slot machines in Connecticut. See Chen’s written testimony here.
Kelly’s written testimony:
Here is a brief synopsis for your review as to why this is the solution. Once again, there has been a precedent set in 2015 with the agreement between Connecticut Lottery Corp. and the Tribal Nations. Clearly it would have to be a richer percentage paid to the Tribes.
1. It’s not about expansion of gaming; it about keeping what we have.
2. New York has been taking hundreds of millions of dollars from Connecticut with its slot operations in Yonkers and Aqueduct resulting in major market leakage.
3. Keep it here. Don’t need to expand into casinos or any other locations. Bridgeport, New Haven and Windsor Locks have licensed pari-mutuels that are zoned for gaming and have been operating in the state in one form or another for close to 40 hears. They also have extensive buildings and land that will accommodate parking and slots immediately. This is not like Keno which was to be put all over the state. These slots will just go into the most needed areas that have these facilities, namely, Bridgeport, New Haven and Windsor Locks.
4. Why let Massachusetts basically close Windsor Locks (Head them off at the pass) or let Yonkers kill Bridgeport and New Haven? We are looking at the local market that will go to these facilities for an afternoon, not a destination of 2-3-4 days.
5. This will enhance the economy of the state of Connecticut, bring jobs, as well as stop the hemorrhaging from the existing casinos. It will also help the survival of the pari-mutuel OTB business that has been here for a very long time.
6. There is very little downside to the addition of slots. It’s just an added attraction that will help the pari-mutuel OTB industry in Connecticut as well as the tribal casinos.
7. The upside could bring an additional $200 million to the state.
8. These facilities are already regulated by the state, have their own security, etc., parking, buildings, etc.
9. Dollar for dollar, you could not beat this type of investment for the citizens of Connecticut with very little downside.
10. It would be foolish for the state of Connecticut to not take advantage of this opportunity if the Indian casinos and the pari-mutuel industry in Connecticut can formulate an agreement.
Read gaming bill before the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee here.