Casino Gambling in Connecticut: What’s Going On



The Proposed Hartford Area Casino is a Bad Bet!

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

By now, one might think Connecticut officials would recognize the shortsightedness of depending on casinos. Instead, however, the legislature is considering two bills that would expand casino gambling as a way to counter the continuing loss of casino revenue and jobs.

The first bill (No. 957) would allow the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans to jointly open and operate a $200-300 million off-reservation, commercial “convenience” casino in East Windsor for the purpose of competing with the $950 million MGM casino being built in Springfield.

The second bill (No. 7239) would create a competitive process to seek proposals from any developers interested in opening casinos elsewhere in the state. The intent of the bill is widely seen as an effort to open a large casino in Bridgeport in order to tap the Fairfield County and Metropolitan New York markets.

Both bills would require the legislature to legalize commercial casino gambling, which is currently illegal in Connecticut.

This third casino is a bad bet!  Click here to learn why.

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