House approves a third casino in East Windsor

Connecticut House Greenlights Gambling Expansion Legislative Package

Aresimowicz said the plan is to approve the Senate casino bill, which passed by a 2-1 vote on May 24, without changes.

This overall, last-minute pact comes on the eve of the final day of this year's regular legislative session, which ends Wednesday at midnight.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had previously criticized an amendment to the bill creating a new mandate on insurers, saying it showed "disdain" for the insurance industry.

The House of Representatives voted in favour of the gaming expansion bill, with the decision coming only a few hours after a deal including more off-track betting parlours across the state of CT was reached.

With less than two days left in the legislative session, the House of Representatives is preparing for a debate on legalizing marijuana.

Some lawmakers, however, preferred opening the process to other casino developers.

The fight to establish a third casino in East Windsor cleared months of grueling debate in the legislature Wednesday but another hurdle now looms, this time in the courts.

"I'm glad it's nearly over", said Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who has been working to broker an agreement that could satisfy members of the House.

There are those who support the tribes' proposal in an effort to protect jobs at their southeastern CT casinos and other lawmakers who want to create an open casino-bidding process that could lead to other casino developers possibly building gambling facilities elsewhere in CT. The third casino in the region will be operated by the two Indian tribes.

The state's two federally recognized tribes - the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots - are running one casino each. The tribes have warned that thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in slot machine revenues to the state could be at risk if the border casino was not approved.

Under the bill, the two tribes will be required to pay 25% full-year tax on their gambling revenue.

The MGM Resorts casino that's now under construction in the western MA city of Springfield will likely face competition from another casino just 16 miles away.

Sportech, which runs off-track betting facilities in CT, says it's anxious about how the MGM casino will impact its venues in Windsor Locks, Manchester, Hartford and New Britain "without any remedies to protect our employees". The first $4.5 million in slots revenue would be set aside for annual grants of $750,000 to each of six communities: Hartford, East Hartford, Ellington, Enfield, South Windsor and Windsor Locks.

The East Windsor casino would be about 20 minutes away from the MGM casino that's being built right here in Springfield.


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