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House Speaker: Agreement reached on casino-related bill


Despite the House has already given its approval to the gambling expansion in the state, some CT lawmakers still expressed their concern with the fact that the tribes will be given the exclusive right to develop a new casino on what is described as non-tribal land.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been pushing for the so-called transportation lockbox.

The House of Representatives voted in favour of the gaming expansion bill, with the decision coming only a few hours after a deal including more off-track betting parlours across the state of CT was reached.

The Connecticut state senate approved the third casino last month.

The final legislative approval of the House of Representatives was given with 103 to 46 votes early on Wednesday.

The State of CT missed an enormous opportunity to put in place an open, transparent, and competitive casino process which could have resulted in as much as $1 billion in economic development.

CT lawmakers approved most of a legislative package early Wednesday that could lead to a new tribal casino being built in East Windsor, a move that came hours after a multifaceted deal was reached that includes more off-track betting parlors in the state.

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Lawmakers voted 77-72 early Wednesday morning in favor of the proposal, which expands the number of off-track betting locations across the state and requires the Department of Consumer Protection to set up a framework for possible sports betting.

"I'm glad it's nearly over", said Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who has been working to broker an agreement that could satisfy members of the House.

The two nations proposed to build a joint casino off-reservation land in order to prevent job cuts and revenue loss when a $950-million casino resort is launched in Springfield, a MA city located not far from the state's border with CT. MGM's new $950m casino is set to open in 2018 and is expected to drive away CT gamblers from their state's tribal casinos.

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

The state's two federally recognized tribes - the Mohegans and the Mashantucket Pequots - are running one casino each. He says lawmakers are still negotiating an alternative gambling-related bill.

Sportech, which runs off-track betting facilities in CT, says it's anxious about how the MGM casino will impact its venues in Windsor Locks, Manchester, Hartford and New Britain "without any remedies to protect our employees".

MMCT, the tribes' joint venture, says the new 200,000 square-foot casino would feature 2,000 slot machines and between 50 and 150 table games, but would have no hotel or other features of a major resort. Analysts project the slots revenue will be worth $266 million again next year, then fall to $199 million after MGM Springfield opens.

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