The bill to expand casino gaming in CT due to the posed threats by future Massachusetts casinos continues to go through changes. Now, a two-step process for possibly opening a new tribal casino in Connecticut faces a vote in the state House of Representatives.
Step 1 – the tribes would issue a request for proposals to municipalities interested in hosting one satellite casino, most likely in northern Connecticut along the Interstate 1 corridor to help combat the planned MGM Resort casino in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.
Step 2 – Any development agreement reached between the tribes and the community, following various local approvals, would have to be reviewed by the Attorney General and governor’s office. Ultimately, a new casino could not operate until the General Assembly amends state law to allow casino gambling.
The existing two tribal casinos are located on sovereign tribal land. A casino outside of tribal land brings many other considerations into question.
Patty McQueen, a spokeswoman for the two tribes, said both respect everyone’s position on the legislation, but stressed that the bill is about allowing the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes to retain jobs and revenue in Connecticut.
But I have other questions, outside the box if you will – both from the large picture state approach and from the individual gambler’s approach.
1) Will this allow more gambling, privatized from the gambling industry? Could Caesars Entertainment (who have teamed up with tribes in North Carolina & California), add another to support Indian Tribes like the Shaticokes or Eastern Pequots for example? Remember, the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) is looking into easing the process of federally recognition. Interesting that the biggest opposition to to this is Dam Malloy and the State of CT.
2) The anti-gambling community always has a great interest in saving CT citizens from gambling addiction – certainly a valid concern. But won’t those who are enticed by additional a casino only 20 to 40 minutes away in Massachusetts. MGM Springfield is definitely closer and easier to get to than CT’s tribal casinos in southeastern CT. Does a half hour make a difference?
3) What are all these jobs CT will be losing if they don’t build another casino? Vendors, suppliers, casino staff? I would like to know about the specifics Connecticut is expected to lose that one casino will save.
4) How will the two tribes play this out? Obviously, some prefer Foxwoods, some prefer the Sun. How will comp points be affected? This may seem like a little consideration, but the place they spend their money it is as important to many gamblers as which part of CT are Red Sox or Yankees fans.
5) I know this is far down the line, and could be a moot point, but…….will it have a hotel? How will it compete with MGM for the recreational gambler and the advantage gambler’s attention. Night clubs? Restaurants? So much that should be considered NOW if it is given a green light now so the end result is a not half-thought-out version for the State of CT anti gaming groups to say “I told you so.”
So little time, yet so much at stake on both sides. And still, so many questions……
That;’s all for now.