Health Care

Connecticut House Debates Bill That Would Lead To Tolls

Connecticut House Debates Bill That Would Lead To Tolls”

The Connecticut house passed the casino bill early Wednesday morning. If the House approves the bill containing the entertainment agreement, the sports betting deal and a new plan to expand OTB, it will move to the Senate. The House then approved a companion bill, by a vote of 77-72.

"Connecticut 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, the creation of thousands of jobs and a licensing fee paid to the state of up to $100 million", Uri Clinton, the senior vice president and legal counsel for MGM Resorts International, said in a statement.

"Our state has a longstanding partnership and compact with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations, who employ thousands of CT residents in their casinos".

While there wasn't enough support for the bill, Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (ehr-eh-SIM'-oh-wits) said Tuesday's 90-minute debate was still important because the issue could come up again during budget negotiations.

There are those who support the tribes' proposal in an effort to protect jobs at their southeastern CT casinos and other lawmakers who want to create an open casino-bidding process that could lead to other casino developers possibly building gambling facilities elsewhere in CT.

The tribes are also expected to make a $30 million payment to the state for the ability to operate the casino.

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"I think our focus should be on saving those jobs in Eastern Connecticut and allowing two tribes that have been good partners as along as the town that it's going to be agree with it", Rep. Themis Klarides said during an interview Monday. Some legislators supported the tribes' proposal in an effort to protect jobs at their southeastern CT casinos and other lawmakers wanted to create an open casino bidding process that could lead to other casino developers possibly building gambling facilities elsewhere in CT.

MGM has built its opposition to the tribes's casino around a pitch that CT, deep in the throes of a budget crisis, could do better by opening Fairfield County to competition for a casino resort that could appeal to the NY market. "With this vote, we have all demonstrated a commitment to protecting the state of CT and the good jobs of its residents", he said.

Earlier in the week, lawmakers discussed the possibility of allowing additional slot machines in off-track betting facilities in Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury, and a so-called boutique casino for high-rollers in Hartford.

The bill creates an entertainment sharing agreement between the CT tribes and entertainment venues across the state.

As the legislative wheels turn in Connecticut, The MGM Springfield casino is set to open in the Fall of 2018.

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