Connecticut’s Third Casino – Four Links to the Latest Spin

Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

The addition of a third casino in Connecticut continues to drag on, while MGM Springfield continues to rise ahead of schedule.  The spin on the latest events in this “battle at the border” between Massachusetts and the Nutmeg State continues to grind. The many talking heads involved are all after the same thing – control, or at least having a piece, of the New England Casino landscape.

To keep you up-to-date, NETimeGambling is providing this time line of the last two weeks’ events, with links to articles that explain further.

MAY 1st “Finance committee allows its third-casino bill to die”

Connecticut State Capitol

As reported in the Day by Brian Hallenbeck, a bill that was meant to call for commercial competitive bidding for a third casino was never sent to the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, causing it to fail on the House floor.  The bill “encountered considerable opposition.” Contrary to that opposition, due to expected losses in state jobs and revenue, was the following article……

May 17th “MGM poll: 71% of likely voters want open bid for third casino”

It seems that MGM Resorts International, which is building MGM Springfield Casino/Resort 15 minutes north over the CT/MA border, knows what is best for Connecticut.  They have known all along, if you trace the history of this casino war – or so MGM feels they do. According to Eric Bedner of the Journal Inquirer in RI just a few days ago, MGM revealed that a statewide survey (commissioned in part by MGM Resorts International) shows that 71 percent of likely Connecticut voters support legislation that would establish a competitive bid process for a third casino.  WOW!  That’s just the opposite, and a very high percentage, that want competitive bidding!  But wasn’t there opposition to that? (read above article).  And the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes released a study by gaming expert Dr. Clyde Barrow that shows the competitive bid process could cost CT up to $85.6 million annually. “”There is no math that makes Connecticut’s first commercial gaming enterprise work for the state if it’s not operated by the two federally recognized tribes,” wrote Dr. Barrow. “For the State of Connecticut to merely break even in terms of state revenue, a competitively bid third casino would need to generate $1.063 billion in gross gaming revenue annually. There is not a single commercial casino in the United States generates that level of gaming revenue.”

In case you’re wondering why MGM is in favor of a casino being built, it is not due to a new found empathy towards Connecticut.  It is simply because MGM could build another casino in south-western CT, but not near the border where the joint venture of the Pequots & Mohegans would build.  Why? – MGM’s agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts includes not building a competing casino within a radius of 90 miles, which crosses over into Connecticut to far to be considered near Hartford and north.  But, days before this…….

May 16th – Schaghticokes Push Back As State Seeks To Dismiss Lawsuit

Schaghticokes were denied recognition by state.

Schaghticokes were denied recognition by state.

The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation from Kent, CT in the north-western part of the state, continues to insist on its due piece of the casino pie. For and explanation previous history of the Schaghticokes & MGM, check out a previous NETimeGambling post entitled “Casino Industry Finds Strange Bedfellows In Connecticut & Maine.”  The difficulty for the tribe from Kent is that they are still not federally recognized.

May 18th – Tribes get BIA letter helpful to their bid for a third casino

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

The CT Mirror and  have been on top of the third casino situation since its inception.  Recently, they reported  the Bureau of Indian Affairs confirmed that “A commercial casino operated by Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes would not jeopardize their revenue-sharing deal with the state,” contrary to other reports surfacing, influenced by MGM.  It had been rumored, around the time of both casino bills being published, that the third casino by MMCT (the joint venture of Pequots & Mohegans)  would “invalidate a deal in which the tribes were granted exclusive rights to casino gambling in Connecticut in return for a 25 percent share of gross slots revenues.” This recent article by The Mirror explains the most recent opinion handed down by the BIA.

After reading these posts and articles, what do you think is going to happen?  Many questions remain.  But who is most concerned about Connecticut’s third casino?

  • How worried is Connecticut in losing jobs, revenue, and diminishing the huge 1-2 gaming punch that Foxwoods and the Sun have brought to New England and the US?
  • How worried is Massachusetts in the fruition of success that MGM Springfield has promised?
  • How worried is MGM International concerning their latest project in Springfield – the invention of the “urban casino/resort?”

Only time will tell.  That’s all for now.