A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Connecticut legislature that would create a new agency to handle a competitive bidding process for new casinos in the state.
The bill seeks to form a new entity called the Connecticut Gaming Commission, whose purpose would be the establishment of a “competitive bidding process for a resort-casino license.” This process, according to the bill, “would allow the state to choose a development with the most economic impact to the state.”
Similar legislation was introduced in the last legislative session, where it passed the House but did not come up for a vote in the Senate. State law limits casino ownership to federally recognized tribal nation. The leadership of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe have rejected efforts by Gov. Ned Lamont to meet with MGM Resorts International, which is seeking to open a casino resort along the Bridgeport waterfront.
“We need a process that requires detailed proposals from potential developers that would promote local businesses, create jobs and bring much-needed revenue to our communities and our state,” said Rep. Christopher Rosario (D-Bridgeport), one of the co-sponsors of the bill. “We should not settle for anything short of the best deal possible.”
However, the new bill may benefit from the stalemate between Connecticut’s tribes and the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has yet to sign off on plans to open the Tribal Winds Casino in East Windsor on nontribal land. Another bill introduced in the legislature would enable the state to bypass federal approval to jumpstart the East Windsor project. The Only in Bridgeport blog reports that “some back channel discussions” are underway in Hartford that would ensure passage of the East Windsor casino bill while allowing the competitive process for another site, with Bridgeport as the most likely location.