Commercial Casino Proposal Gains Approval in Connecticut

by Jim Hall

ConnecticutA bill that would allow a commercial casino to be created in Connecticut has been approved by the House.

For some time now, there has been great controversy in the state of Connecticut in regards to the creation of a commercial casino. The state currently only offers tribal gaming venues but that may not be the case anymore. A bill that would allow the construction of a commercial casino was approved by the state House today, during the final day of the 2017 legislative session within the General Assembly.

 What Happens Now?

Now that the House has approved the measure, the bill now moves to the desk of Governor Dannel Malloy. The governor must sign the bill into law in order for the proposal to move forward. Not too long ago, Malloy stated to the media that in regards to gambling expansion for the state, he is in support of a deal that would keep jobs and revenue within the borders of the state within the gambling industry.

With so many nearby states expanding or getting into areas of gaming, jobs are being created nearby and residents going to casinos outside of the state for entertainment. With more gaming added to Connecticut, they can keep jobs and revenues in the state.

This proposal for a commercial casino for the state is not new. In 2015, a proposal was created to see a commercial casino added to the northern region of the state. There are currently only two casinos operating in Connecticut, both located on reservation lands. The Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots are the recognized tribes that run a casino each.

The two tribal nations actually want to work together to create a commercial casino off tribal lands in order to prevent job cuts and the loss of revenues when the MGM Springfield casino is finished. The $950 million project is located a short distance from the border of the state and many feel will cause problems with the economy as well as gambling industry.

House Approves

The bill for the new casino was reviewed by the House and was approved by a vote of 103-46. It took months of deliberation before the House was give their approval on the matter, as everyone wanted to be sure that a new casino would be good for the economy as well as the state overall. The Senate had already voted on the measure so it was up to the House to move the bill forward.

The bill actually saw a last minute amendment made that would see the gambling industry expand further. With the amendment, off-track betting licenses will be increased from 18 to 24 in total. As far as the casino venue is concerned, the tribes plan on creating a 200,000 square foot gaming venue in the town of East Windsor. It took much deliberation between the two tribes as they evaluated many locations to find the right spot.

The town has 12,000 residents and is not far from Springfield, Massachusetts, where the new venue by MGM will be created. The goal is to make the East Windsor location a competitor to the MGM venue so the state can maintain gambling revenues. The new Connecticut casino should have 2,000 slot games as well as 150 table games maximum. The property does not include a hotel or amenity other than gambling.

As part of the deal, the tribes will have to pay 25% in full year taxes on gambling revenues. This same percentage has been paid by both tribes for their existing venues on slot games since 1990.