House Oks bill to expand off-track betting

Pauline Gross
June 9, 2017

Proponents of legislation that could lead to tolls on Connecticut's highways say they don't have enough votes to pass the bill.

MMCT, the tribes' joint venture, says the new 200,000 square-foot casino would feature 2,000 slot machines and between 50 and 150 table games, but would have no hotel or other features of a major resort. He said there are plans for multiple meetings with rank-and-file lawmakers, committee leadership and others. The so-called "satellite casino" which development had been put under consideration was aimed to be located between Hartford and Springfield as a worthy competitor of the MGM Springfield gaming resort that is planned to be officially opened in 2018.

The House also wants the Senate to approve a bill that would make it easier for promoters of Mixed Martial Arts to hold matches in places like Bridgeport and Hartford. Those provisions imposed higher levels of health insurance coverage for MMA fighters than for boxers, plus a gross receipts tax.

The House gave final passage to the tribal exclusivity bill on a 103-46 vote.

A spokesman for the tribes is saying that MGM has not proven that they even have standing in a potential case and they plan to move forward with East Windsor.

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The legislative piece now needs to be signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, who recently told the media that in terms of gambling expansion, he would support a deal that would keep casino jobs and revenue in Connecticut's borders. In a separate bill, the House will address some of the requests by many undecided lawmakers in recent days. It also called for an expansion of off-track betting sites and possible sports betting in the future.

If a vote count by House leaders is correct, the biggest remaining complication could be an amendment that Rep. Chris Davis, R-Ellington, whose district includes East Windsor, was considering proposing: It would make approval of the casino contingent on a local referendum. There are now two operational casinos in CT, with both of them being located on reservation land. The agreement, known as the compact, guarantees the state will receive 25 percent of slot machine revenue monthly in exchange for the exclusive right to operate slots in CT.

The two-bill package would create an entertainment sharing agreement between the state's two federally recognized tribes, the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan, and several entertainment venues around the state.

The tribes went first, then MGM.

Other reports by GizPress

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