Connecticut House Still Mulling The Way Forward On Casino Bills

Jun 5, 2017

The Connecticut House of Representatives seems no nearer to a conclusion on expanding gambling in the state, and House Speaker Democrat Joe Aresimowicz said he doesn’t see the issue making it to a special session. 

The Senate has passed a bill approving a casino in East Windsor, to be developed by the tribal partnership of the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots.

Aresimowicz told a news conference Monday he believes that bill could also be passed by the House, but only alongside additional legislation that would also see more gaming in Waterbury, Bridgeport, and Hartford.

“We are looking at a slot presence in the other cities with a possible boutique set up in Hartford,” he said. “But nothing’s been signed off on, there’s not a bill in existence -- it’s still being talked about. There’s phone calls clearly that still have to be made, so it’s a very fluid situation.”

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, a Democrat who represents Hartford, said he doesn’t believe gaming in his city will provide economic answers.

But he said whatever legislators do, they must brace themselves to end up in court. “There’s going to be litigation no matter what,” Ritter said. “If we just did East Windsor standalone it’s in court right away. So there’s litigation, there’s legal complexities no matter what you do.”

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, based in Kent, has pledged to sue the state if it doesn’t open up the possibility of a third casino to outside bids.

MGM International, which is currently building a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts , is also lobbying hard to be allowed to make a proposal in Connecticut.

The session ends in three days.