Lawmakers to revise Connecticut casino bill

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Lawmakers from Connecticut revised a bill that was proposed last month in order to allow the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to receive help in opening three casinos on foreign land, for gambling competitions. The state Attorney General, George Jepsen, has stated that the bill presents uncertainties and it could possibly generate ramifications for an existing gaming compact.

The tribes reassured legislators that the bill would not cancel their agreements which consist of giving the state 25% of the tribes’ annual slots revenue. However, lawmakers refused to pass the bill that, in the meantime has stopped constructions of a casino in Hartford, but they actually agreed for a revival of the bill.

Robert W. Clark, the personal counsel of Jepsen, send the tribes an e-mail in which he stated: “[W]e do not believe it would be appropriate, absent explicit statutory authority or an appropriate client agency, for our Office to negotiate any such proposed submission on behalf of the State of Connecticut”.

Thus, tribes granted an agreement to affirm that a new casino will not affect negotiations regarding a new gaming compact and actual slots deal.

Therefore, the revised bill is expected to be voted on this month by the Senate. Its approval will allow tribes to seek support for the casino from host communities. Patty McQueen, the spokeswoman of the tribes, declared:

“The exchange with the Attorney General’s office is indicative of the commitment the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes made to the public and to elected officials from the very beginning of this public conversation about protecting 9,300 jobs and revenue that could be lost to competition in Massachusetts and New York, and that is to fully address all concerns raised.(…) The legislation before the General Assembly enables the Tribes and the state to continue those conversations while also beginning the effort to protect jobs and revenue”.

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