Connecticut House Passes Gambling Expansion Bill
The Connecticut House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the building of a new casino in East Windsor. However, the state’s democratic leaders believe the casino expansion will be challenged legally.
House Majority Leader Matthew Ritter said, “It’s hard to predict what their claims are going to be and then what the defenses are going to be. But we acknowledge that someone is going to sue. We don’t know who or for what reason, but they will.”
Well, we may already know the “who” and the “why.” MGM Resorts International, which owns a nearby $950 million casino and entertainment center in Springfield, has already made clear their plans to pursue legal action regarding the approved legislation. In the past, MGM has aggressively pursued open bidding to expand casino gambling in Connecticut.
MGM’s legal counsel, Uri Clinton, said the House approval vote was not going to be the end of the matter:
“We will continue to vigorously advocate in the courts as we seek to protect the constitutional rights of any company hoping to do business in Connecticut. And that, ultimately is what our goal has always been: we’d like the chance to compete to do business in Connecticut.”
More than Just a Casino
In addition to the new casino in East Windsor, the House also approved a massive expansion of gambling that includes more off-track betting sites as well as the possibility of sports betting sometime in the future. The bill will now go to the desk of Governor Daniel P. Malloy, who has already expressed his support for the idea in the past.
In order for other aspects of the gambling expansion to move forward, though, the Senate must approve. The House passed the casino expansion bill by a one-sided vote of 103-46.
This was rather surprising, considering Democratic leaders announced just a couple of weeks ago that they did not believe they had the support necessary to move the bill forward. The Senate’s recent approval of the legalization of mixed martial arts matches to be held on nontribal land, was reportedly a key part in getting the bill passed.
The bill calls for the expansion of off-track betting sites from 18 up to 24. Native American tribes have said that adding a new casino in East Windsor would create more than 4,000 additional jobs, plus another 2,300 construction jobs. The new casino will reportedly have 2,000 slot machines and between 50 and 150 table games.
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