June 27, 2017

Malloy signs bill authorizing third CT casino

Rendering | Contributed
Rendering | Contributed
The proposed third casino in East Windsor.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday that he signed legislation allowing a joint venture run by the operators of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods to open a new casino gaming facility in East Windsor.

The law allowing for a third casino in Connecticut was a controversial one this legislative session but ended up receiving broad, bipartisan support in the House and Senate. The law specifies that the casino will be owned and operated by MMCT Venture LLC, a joint venture of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

As required under the legislation, MMCT will need to make a $1 million initial payment to the state of Connecticut. The state will also receive 25 percent of gross gaming revenue from the casino. Of that amount, 10 percent will fund the state's tourism efforts and the remaining 15 percent will fund the state's general budget.

As part of the deal, the towns of Ellington, Enfield, South Windsor, Windsor Locks, East Hartford, and Hartford will also receive annual grants from the state of $750,000.

The goal of a third casino in East Windsor is to compete with a $950 million MGM Resorts International casino under construction in Springfield. MGM, however, has said it plans to challenge in court the state's decision grant a third casino to MMCT without an open-bid process.

"Over the years, our state has maintained a longstanding partnership and compact with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations, who employ thousands of Connecticut residents at their casinos," Malloy said. "Make no mistake about it – the legislation I signed today is about jobs for the residents of Connecticut, and securing those jobs in our state."

MMCT, the tribes' joint venture, says the new 200,000 square-foot casino will feature 2,000 slot machines and between 50 and 150 table games, but would have no hotel or other features of a major resort. Without the project, the tribes said they expected to lose 9,000 jobs.

MGM tried to convince legislators to think bigger and open a competition for a major casino resort in Fairfield County that could draw from an under-served gaming market in New York City, suggesting a license fee for such a resort could be worth $100 million.

The law also gives the Department of Consumer Protection oversight, licensing, and regulation over the East Windsor casino, and any other casino that may be authorized by the legislature in the future. The agency will adopt regulations to ensure proper, safe, and orderly conduct of the casino's operations, and will license all gaming facility employees and vendors.

A report from the CT Mirror is included in this story.

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