Malloy: Only realistic casino expansion option is the tribes' – The CT Mirror

ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

Updated at 4:47 p.m.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy moved forcefully Friday for the first time to focus the legislature’s debate on casino expansion, saying the only measure he would consider signing is a bill granting the owners of Connecticut’s two tribal casinos permission to build a commercial casino in East Windsor to compete with MGM Resorts International in Springfield.

In an interview with CT Mirror, the governor said he remains neutral on the question of whether to expand, but if the General Assembly is going to permit the state’s first casino off tribal lands, then lawmakers should respect the state’s long-standing exclusivity agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations.

The tribes have paid the state $7 billion since 1993 under the terms of agreements in which Connecticut granted gaming exclusivity to the tribal casinos, Foxwoods Resorts and Mohegan Sun, in return for annual payments equal to 25 percent of gross slots revenues. The deal is expected to produce at least $260 million for the state this year.

“If I can help the legislature focus, it’s do you want to work with the two tribal nations that employ thousands and thousands of people in our state? If that’s what you’re trying to do to help secure those jobs and that base, then there is one road to go down,” Malloy said. “I will not sign a transaction or bill that puts into real danger our existing arrangement with the tribal nations, nor would anyone in this building who thought about it. And I’m not sure we’ve had that clear, crisp discussion.”

The General Assembly is considering three options: Grant the tribes authority to jointly develop a casino just off I-91 in East Windsor, between Hartford and Springfield; create a competitive process to

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