November 8, 2017

CT lawmakers push for feds to OK tribal compact amendments

Rendering | Contributed
Rendering | Contributed
MMCT's proposed East Windsor casino

Three Connecticut Congressmen have asked the head of the U.S. Department of the Interior to publicly approve tribal compact amendments that would allow for Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods to jointly open a third casino in East Windsor.

The letter from U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Joe Courtney follows similar requests made by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes.

All are asking U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to take action on the amended language in the compact between the tribes and the state of Connecticut to allow a third casino.

The compacts currently allow both tribes to operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, respectively, in exchange for paying 25 percent of their slots revenues to the state of Connecticut.

In return, the state has agreed not to authorize an additional casino within state boundaries. The amendments to the company would clarify that, allowing a third casino jointly run by the tribes in East Windsor. The arrangement would not jeopardize the existing compact arrangements, lawmakers say.

In Sept. 15 letters to the tribes, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Michael Black had said that approval of the amendment was "premature and likely unnecessary."

The Connecticut lawmakers and tribes are looking for a more definitive answer.

The proposed East Windsor casino, which received state approval earlier this year, is planned to compete with MGM Springfield, a $950 million resort casino set to debut next year. Tribes and lawmakers sought the East Windsor venue because the Massachusetts casino is expected to siphon off revenue from the tribes' existing casinos, impacting revenue the state receives from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.

MGM is also looking to build a casino in Bridgeport.

Zinke could not be reached for comment.

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