Casino Gambling in Connecticut: What’s Going On

Casino expansion would further state’s decline. . .

Former Congressman Robert Steele and State Senator Tony Hwang articulated the many reasons to oppose pending legislation in the Senate in a piece published in the Journal Inquirer.
Read their piece here.

 


History

Casino gambling came to Connecticut in the 1990s, when the Mashantucket Pequots opened Foxwoods and the Mohegans opened Mohegan Sun on their respective Indian reservations in southeastern Connecticut.

With virtually no competition other than from Atlantic City, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun quickly became two of the world’s biggest and most profitable casinos, drawing over half their combined customers from out of state, creating some 20,000 casino jobs, and sending hundreds of millions of dollars a year in slot machine winnings to the Connecticut state treasury under a revenue sharing arrangement with the state.

Since then, however, the competitive landscape has changed dramatically as more and more states have opened casinos. When Foxwoods opened in 1992 there were only 10 other casinos in the 12 states of the Northeast, all of them in Atlantic City, 250 miles away. Today there are 58 casinos in the Northeast and more are planned or under construction despite the fact that casinos are increasingly cannibalizing one another. As a result of the growing competition, Foxwoods’ and Mohegan Sun’s combined revenue is already down 40% from its peak and the two casinos have eliminated over 8,000 jobs.

The Campaign to Expand Casino Gambling in Connecticut

In July 2017 the State of Connecticut authorized the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans to jointly open a $300 million commercial, off-reservation casino in East Windsor in order to compete with the new $950 million mega-casino MGM is building in Springfield, MA.

The East Windsor casino faces two obstacles before it can go forward, however.

First, the State Legislature approved the East Windsor casino with the proviso that the U.S. Department of the Interior approve an amendment to the current state-tribal compacts stipulating that the new casino would not alter the current compact terms that give the tribes the exclusive right to operate casino gambling in Connecticut in return for 25% of their slot revenues. The Department of the Interior has not yet approved such an amendment, and instead recently issued a confusing letter that neither approves nor rejects it.

Second, MGM has challenged the constitutionality of giving the tribes the exclusive right to build a commercial casino in Connecticut, and has proposed that, as an alternative, the state allow MGM to build a $675 casino in Bridgeport to tap the Fairfield County and New York markets. MGM claims the Bridgeport casino would generate more net revenue and jobs for the state than the East Windsor casino, and is threatening to hold up the East Windsor casino indefinitely in court while it presses its Bridgeport proposal.

These proposed casinos are a bad bet!  Click here for Ten Reasons to Oppose Expansion of Casino Gambling in Connecticut .

Click here for a printable version of this page: Whats_Going_On.doc.