House approves a third casino in East Windsor

The Connecticut House overwhelmingly approved a bill early Wednesday morning, allowing the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a third casino in East Windsor. If the House approves the bill containing the entertainment agreement, the sports betting deal and a new plan to expand OTB, it will move to the Senate.

Slowing the deterioration of the revenue-sharing - and trying to offset the loss of thousands of jobs at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, once MGM opens, with new ones in East Windsor - is the heart of the tribes' argument for a new casino.

Connecticut lawmakers appear to have reached a multifaceted deal that could ultimately lead to a new tribal casino in East Windsor, according to Connecticut House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.

"I think there are some constitutional issues that might come with this casino being put into East Windsor".

In a vote recorded at 1:11 a.m. Wednesday, the House voted 103-46 in favor of Senate Bill 957, which the Senate had approved, 24-12.

"Why would they go there, it's going to be the same thing, why would you go there when you can just go to Springfield", said Anthony Rivera of Chicopee.

MGM Resorts International had fought for two years to block authorization of what the tribes call a "satellite casino" between Hartford and Springfield to blunt the loss of gambling market share once MGM opens its gaming resort in Springfield next year.

The Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots' joint casino is planned to feature around 2,000 slot machines and up to 150 table games. The two tribes have contributed around $7 billion to Connecticut's coffers over the past 25 years and are expected to pay the state more than $220 million in 2017.

MGM has bankrolled some of the Schaghticokes' earlier efforts to oppose expansion by MMCT. Like those previously authorized, the additional facilities may offer wagering on televised horse racing and jai alai and provide other amenities such as food.

The legislation required the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to appraise the fiscal condition of New England's nuclear facilities, including Millstone. The list of such venues includes Rentschler Field in East Hartford, the XL Center in Hartford, Dodd Stadium in Norwich and Webster Bank Arena and Harbor Yard Ballpark, both in Bridgeport. Brief closing remarks were delivered by Rep. Mike France of Ledyard, a Republican whose district covers both tribal casinos.

  • Zachary Reyes