Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler, left, and Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin Brown. Photo from CT Jobs Matter

Tribes face deadline in bid for new gaming facility in Connecticut

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe are running out of time as they pursue a new gaming facility they say will protect jobs and revenues.

Lawmakers in the Connecticut House passed a bill to authorize the facility. But the Senate has yet to act with only about a week left in the legislative session.

In hopes of sweetening the deal, the tribes have offered $25 million upfront to the state, The Hartford Courant reported. The amount would not be considered a license fee for the new facility, an idea that has been suggested, but instead would be deducted from the tribes' future revenue sharing payments, the paper said. They share 25 percent of slot machine revenues with the state as part of existing gaming agreements.

Additionally, the tribes are supporting a provision to authorize slot machines at non-Indian betting parlors, the paper reported. That would presumably affect the exclusivity promised to the tribes in their agreements but they have been willing to address that issue in exchange for the casino.

The New England Casino Race: Tribal and commercial gaming facilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island

The tribes plan to build the facility in East Windsor. They chose the site to compete with a $950 million commercial casino going up about 13 miles away in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The tribes are pursuing the casino outside of the framework of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act so federal approval is not needed for it. The site in East Windsor will not be taken into trust either.

Read More on the Story:
Time Grows Short and Tribes Agree to Add Slots for Waterbury, New Haven and Bridgeport (The Hartford Courant 6/1)

An Opinion:
Editorial: Close casino deal (The New London Day 5/31)

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