Bridgeport & East Windsor Casinos Move Forward Despite Split Opinions
Connecticut’s gambling expansion seems to be moving at a brisk pace. Two competing bills have been put forward that could potentially bring in millions of dollars in development into the state. The state will have to make a decision soon on whether they want a casino either at East Windsor or Bridgeport or proceed with both locations.
The two bills have split the opinions of state lawmakers. One group prefers building a satellite casino in East Windsor. This would have the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes jointly in charge of the project.
The second option is to have a new casino and hotel complex built at the Bridgeport waterfront. This project was proposed by MGM Resorts International.
The trouble is that both projects are competing over the dwindling casino revenues in the market as nearby states are opening their own casinos. Opening both casinos could potentially drain the market and cause more damage to the casino industry. Plus, the two Native American tribes are saying that allowing MGM into the state would violate their monopoly over gambling operations in the state.
Gaming Commission To Be Established
Besides the new casino bills, Connecticut is planning to set up a gaming commission that would oversee gambling related activities in the state. Initially, the agency will have employees from the State Department of Consumer Protection, which is currently in charge of gambling.
In a statement, Bernard Kavaler, a spokesman for MGM said
Today’s committee action advances legislation that puts Connecticut’s interests front and center – creation of an independent state gaming commission, a transparent competitive process for a valuable commercial casino license, and a competitive sports betting marketplace that will benefit consumers and the state. We will continue to work with legislators and the administration to achieve what’s best for Connecticut – maximizing jobs, economic development and revenue.
The two tribes handling the East Windsor casino were forced to delay their plans because federal regulators said that there was a need to revise the current compact that the Mashantucket Pequot tribe and Connecticut have. The delay in constructing this tribal casino is reportedly hurting the local economy and depriving the state of hundreds of full time jobs.
While both bills have made progress, it is highly unlikely that legislators will approve both bills and allow two casinos in the state. Legislators are expected to spend more time studying these bills and then make a decision to back one in the coming weeks.