Connecticut House Greenlights Gambling Expansion Legislative Package

Casino slot machine

Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said families of casino workers at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun were "breathing a sigh of relief" that the legislation passed.

CT lawmakers have given final legislative approval to a bill that authorizes the state's two federally recognized tribes to open a casino in East Windsor.

Connecticut's House of Representatives sent a bill to Gov. Dannel Malloy on Wednesday that would allow the tribes behind the Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun to open a $300 million third casino in the state. The casino bill was previously voted in the state Senate.

Under the second bill, Sportech Venues will be allowed to have eight more off-track betting licenses, for a total of 24 possible locations throughout the state.

The House on Tuesday debated legalizing marijuana for roughly 90 minutes without a vote, as Democrats consider including the bill in their budget proposal.

A study funded by both tribes suggested out-of-state casino competition could cost CT 9,300 jobs, while an analysis by Connecticut's Office of Fiscal Analysis suggested the competition could cost the state $68 million in annual gaming revenues.

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"With this vote, we have all demonstrated a commitment to protecting the state of CT and the good jobs of its residents", Brown said. Democratic Rep. Joe Verrengia, of West Hartford, predicted the facility could be bogged down by legal challenges for years. As reported by The Connecticut Mirror, the bill would relax the state's restrictions on MMA fights that have made it unfeasible for promoters to stage such matches in the state.

The bill would allow CT to prepare for on-line sports better if federal restrictions are lifted by Congress, she said.

Her comments could help to put expanded casino gambling over the goal line in a legislative session that's been dominated by a loud and expensive lobbying battle between MMCT, the group that consists of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes that already have casinos and MGM which has been fighting to open a casino in Bridgeport. The state had required a greater level of health coverage for MMA than for boxing, as well as a gross-receipts tax that the bill repeals.

One vocal opponent, the Kent-based Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, surfaced Wednesday, threatening to file a lawsuit if, as expected, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signs the legislation The Schaghticokes have expressed an interest in developing a casino, but in southwestern CT.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, confirmed the plan Monday night.

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