CT Governor Approves Legislation for 3rd Casino Construction

by Jim Hall

Connecticut Governor Dannel MalloyThe Governor of Connecticut signs legislation that will allow two tribes to construct a third casino off tribal lands.

The state of Connecticut has been fighting a gaming expansion for some time with one side now gaining traction. Two gaming tribes in the state have been vying for the approval of the governor to be able to create a third gaming venue in the state, this time one that is not located on tribal lands. The two gaming tribes currently operate a casino each on tribal lands. With Governor Dannel Malloy signing legislation into law, the two gaming tribes will be able to go ahead with their project.

A Little Back Story

The current casino operators in the state consist of two tribes, the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. The Mohegan Tribe is the owner of the Mohegan Sun while the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation owns the Foxwoods Casino. Both tribes came together some time ago to form the MMCT Venture with a goal of creating a third casino for the state, this time a satellite gaming venue.

The plan is for MMCT to create a satellite casino in the state. The decision process as to where the venue should be located was a long one and eventually the two tribes decided to go with East Windsor. The main goal is to keep money and jobs in the state as Massachusetts prepares to open the MGM Springfield venue very soon. This new casino has cost $950 million to create and will direct competition to the gaming industry of Connecticut.

Governor Malloy commented on signing the law by stating that over the past few years, the state has been able to maintain a long-standing partnership as well as compact with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes. Both employ thousands of residents within the state at their casino. The governor stated he signed the legislation in order to bring jobs to the state.

Rodney Butler is the Council Chairman for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe who commented on the governor signing the bill into law by stating that this is one of the most significant bills to pass within the General Assembly during this current legislative session. There is much at stake and the tribe cannot thank the governor enough along with his partners in legislature for standing with the tribes and fighting to save jobs and revenue for the state.

Kevin Brown, the Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman, commented as well by stating that with the stroke of a pen, the tribes are that much closer to turning their proposal into reality. The tribe is excited about the future and thankful for leadership within the governor and legislators who rallied to protect the jobs for the state that would otherwise have been lost.

Legal Challenges

The proposal by the two tribes has not been without contention. MGM is of course opposed to the tribes being able to create a new venue and wanted the right to bid to operate their own casino in the state, along with starting a new venue in Massachusetts. MGM has tried to fight their case in a legal setting and says they will continue to challenge the decision by the state in court.

MGM Resorts legal counsel and Senior Vice President of the company Uri Clinton commented on the signing of the law by stating that the state missed an enormous opportunity to put in place a competitive, open and transparent casino process which could have seen as much as $1 billion in economic development within the state and the creation of thousands of jobs plus up to $100 million in licensing fees paid to the state. Clinton stated that instead of this, the state now will receive far less and the company will continue to fight in court to protect the constitutional rights of any company that hopes to do business in the state of Connecticut.