From Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror:
Attorney General George Jepsen advised legislators Thursday that the state could take a tentative step toward testing the market for opening Connecticut to commercial casinos without immediately jeopardizing $260 million in slots revenue the state expects to collect this year under an exclusivity deal with the tribal owners of Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun.
Jepsen submitted written testimony on several gaming bills before the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee, including a measure that would repeal a 2017 law granting exclusive rights to the two tribes to jointly develop a casino in East Windsor. Instead, the bill would authorize an initial step towards an open competition for casino expansion.
“Whether to go forward with the proposed legislation is, in my view, strictly a policy decision,” Jepsen wrote. “As a legal matter, however, it is my opinion that the proposed legislation would not run afoul of our existing agreements with the Tribes.”
The bill before the public safety committee, which has jurisdiction over gambling legislation, would create a multi-step process towards allowing a casino outside the exclusivity deal that has produced about $7 billion for Connecticut over the past quarter century. No casino license could be granted without further legislation, presumably no sooner than 2019.
But passage would be a victory for MGM Resorts International, the Nevada-based gaming giant locked in the third year of a bitter and expensive lobbying battle to protect the market of MGM Springfield, the resort under construction just over the state line. MGM is using the prospects of a future casino Bridgeport to build support for repealing the East Windsor authorization now.
Full story here
Mayor Joe Ganim testifies Thursday morning before legislature’s Public Safety Committee.