Tribes Take The Lead On New Gaming Expansion Proposal | Connecticut Public Radio

Tribes Take The Lead On New Gaming Expansion Proposal

Jul 31, 2019

The state’s two federally recognized tribes, along with several state lawmakers, have put forward a new proposal to expand gaming in the state.

A proposed bill would authorize the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots to build a resort casino in Bridgeport, and potentially build out three more casinos or entertainment zones in Hartford and other towns around the state. 

The measure would also give the tribes exclusive rights to sports betting in the state.

The proposal sees lawmakers from different communities around Connecticut, who had previously been at odds over the future of gaming expansion, coming together behind one idea. The Bridgeport delegation has apparently switched its allegiance from gaming giant MGM, which has also proposed a casino in Connecticut's largest town.

Now they're making common cause with colleagues including East Windsor's Christopher Davis, and state senator Cathy Osten, who represents the tribes in eastern Connecticut.

Governor Ned Lamont confirmed Wednesday that his team is in discussion with the tribes and others on gaming expansion, but he’s wary of a deal that might attract legal action from MGM.

“We’ve had good strong, constructive deliberations with all the different players," said Lamont. "Sometimes I feel we’re getting close, we get to the five yard line, and then we pull back a bit. But there is a solution that would avoid litigation, and that’s my priority.”

MGM sued the state after it authorized the tribal partnership to build a casino in East Windsor in direct competition to MGM’s Springfield casino -- so far that facility hasn’t yet broken ground.