Through the first 4+ months of this year, the prospect of a 3rd casino in the state of Connecticut has been a story we have been following closely. The most recent development in this situation came early this week when the Native tribes from the state received word that their casino plans were approved by an important government committee.
Connecticut’s Appropriations Committee, this week, approved a bill that would allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build, own, and operate a casino that would be situated north of the city of Hartford. The purpose of this casino is to combat the casino being built not too far away in Springfield, Massachusetts. Now that the bill has made its way through committee, the next hurdles lie within the Senate and House.
While a move to the House and Senate is definitely good thing, it is at this point where the bill may face some complications. The reason for this is due to the fact that there is a competing bill already being looked over. That bill would see a casino positioned towards the Southern part of the state in order to capitalize on the lucrative New York City market. For those who are unaware, New York City does not have any legal casinos located within close proximity, so the Southern Connecticut proposal would be ideal for any gamblers located in the greater NYC area.
As it stands, the overriding feeling is that a casino being built in Springfield, Massachusetts will do a large amount of damage to Connecticut’s two currently operating casinos. With the job and revenue losses that are projected to result, the feeling is that an East Windsor casino might be able to make up for some of those lost revenues while simultaneously creating a large number of new jobs.
The final curveball that might be presented is the deal currently held between the state of Connecticut and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. If the proposed 3rd casino is approved and its location determined, the next step would be to determine the amount of revenue the site would be forced to share with the state. Depending upon how those negotiations go, the current deal between the state and the tribes may need to be renegotiated; something that could potentially not be the best of news for the state’s coffers.
State Senator Paul Formica talked about the bill and potential revenue changes by saying, “These casinos have been good partners and have provided revenue for the state. Whether proponents of gambling or not, the opportunity to protect what we have is an important consideration. It’s an economic bill.”
As we have said before, this is one of those situations that we are going to continue keeping a close eye on as things move forward. Progress is being made, that much is for certain, but there is still a lot that needs to be done before a site for the state’s 3rd casino can be established. With that said, it is clear to see that we are at least a few years away from any sort of third gambling establishment in the state of Connecticut.