For the past few months, we have been closely following a story with regard to whether or not Connecticut will build another casino. Not only has the idea of a casino being built been discussed, but so too have proposed locations as well as who will, officially, be in charge of the establishment. Seeing as Connecticut, and many of its neighbors, are new to the casino industry as a whole, it should come as no surprise that there is a lot that needs to be figured out.
According to Connecticut House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, there is a 50-50 chance that a new East Windsor, tribal-run casino will be able to be built and eventually opened. Aresimowicz spoke less about the possibility of the casino being built, however, and seemed to be more concerned with whether the project would ever be put up for a vote.
According to Aresimowicz, however, a recent letter penned by the attorney general and delivered to the governor might have just made the bill’s journey to being passed a more difficult one. Just last week, Connecticut AG George Jepsen wrote a letter to the state’s governor outlining his concerns and reservations regarding the project. Initially, there were not many people out there who believed Jepsen would be overly concerned with regard to the casino’s construction, but that has seemed to change a bit.
Basically, Jepsen is concerned about the fact that the East Windsor casino site, though jointly owned by two tribes, would be positioned off of tribal land. If the casino is built as planned, the fear is that the Native Tribes will move to release themselves from an agreement that sees tribal casinos pay the state a certain % of their gaming revenue. Being that the agreement explicitly governs casinos located on tribal lands, the East Windsor facility and all related revenue may be viewed as being exempt. In other words, the casino and its operators can retain all revenue and will have no legal obligation to turn any over to the state. This is a problem that seems easy to solve, but has so far proven to be anything but that.
Until some of the finer details can be worked out between lawmakers and the tribes, the East Windsor casino will be sitting in a state of limbo. With that being said, things had better get moving, because the Springfield, Mass. Casino currently being built is going to quickly take away revenue from Connecticut and bring it over the border into Massachusetts. As always, this is a story we will be following closely as time moves forward.