CT lawmakers approve deal to allow third tribal casino

Casino slot machine

"I'm glad it's nearly over", said Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who has been working to broker an agreement that could satisfy members of the House.

Lawmakers voted 77-72 early Wednesday morning in favor of the proposal, which expands the number of off-track betting locations across the state and requires the Department of Consumer Protection to set up a framework for possible sports betting.

CT lawmakers approved most of a legislative package early Wednesday that could lead to a new tribal casino being built in East Windsor, a move that came hours after a multifaceted deal was reached that includes more off-track betting parlors in the state.

Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said families of casino workers at Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun were "breathing a sigh of relief" that the legislation passed. MGM Resorts announced that it would contest the casino's approval in an US District Court, arguing that Connecticut's Legislature had violated key Constitution clauses by denying outside operators the opportunity to apply for what would be the state's first commercial casino license.

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations crossed the finish line Wednesday on the last day of the General Assembly's annual session, victors in a two-year struggle for authorization to jointly develop a casino to compete with an MGM Resorts International casino under construction in Springfield.

House Democratic leaders acknowledged they were short of the votes needed to approve legalization on its own, an indication of how controversial the bill remains within their own caucus. But it's unclear whether it will come back up for a vote. The tribes are expected to pay the state $266 million in the current fiscal year under the terms of a deal struck in the 1990s: In return for exclusive rights to casino games, the tribes annually pay the state 25 percent of its gross slots revenues.

US might return Eastern Shore compound to Russians
Russian officials repeatedly asserted during meetings with US diplomats that Obama's action was illegal. Hammond told reporters Wednesday.

Proponents of the bill say it will add more jobs to the state while other say it tarnishes the reputation of CT. Democratic Rep. Joe Verrengia, of West Hartford, predicted the facility could be bogged down by legal challenges for years.

The bill creates an entertainment sharing agreement between the CT tribes and entertainment venues across the state.

The issue this year was a bill that neutralized a health-and-safety liability issue that had discouraged mixed-martial arts promoters from staging matches in CT.

The bill would allow CT to prepare for on-line sports better if federal restrictions are lifted by Congress, she said. The state had required a greater level of health coverage for MMA than for boxing, as well as a gross-receipts tax that the bill repeals.

The House of Representatives has wrapped up a limited debate on legislation that would legalize recreational use of marijuana in CT without taking a vote.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, confirmed the plan Monday night.

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