Connecticut legislators revealed Wednesday they have proposed a piece of legislation that could bring a new tribal casino and regulated sports betting to the city of Bridgeport. Under the provisions of the proposed Connecticut Jobs and Revenue Act, the Mohegan and the Mashantucket Pequot tribes would be required to invest at least $100 million into a gambling and entertainment venue on the territory of the state’s largest city.
If approved, the new bill would enable the two tribes to legally accept sports wagering on the premises of the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino in the southeastern part of the Nutmeg State. Sports betting would also be conducted online and via dedicated mobile applications.
The bill would also give the tribes the exclusive right to provide online casino gaming, poker, and eSports betting. It would enable the Connecticut Lottery to take its operations to the web, offering online tickets and keno games.
The Mohegan and the Mashantucket Pequot tribes are currently working on a joint gambling venue in the town of East Windsor. The proposed bill could enable them to build a new casino in Bridgeport and operate it in partnership.
Senator Cathy Osten, who penned the bill, commented that a potential partnership with the two tribes would have a positive impact on Connecticut’s economy. The proposal aims at creating new job positions in what she called “entertainment zones” on the territory of Hartford and two other locations whose names are yet to be revealed. This would generate more revenue for the state, the Senator stressed.
The Proposed Bill May Meet Some Opposition
Osten revealed she hopes to convoke a special legislative session later this year to discuss the proposal. If this plan fails, the Senator is to introduce the bill during the next legislative session, which is to commence in January 2020. Furthermore, the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes spoke in support of Osten’s proposal, describing it as a step toward preserving their partnership with the state.
However, the proposed bill might meet some opposition on behalf of MGM Resorts. The gambling operator has lobbied for the construction of its own casino in the city of Bridgeport while actively trying to hamper the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes’ plans for East Windsor.
Not all Connecticut legislators are enthusiastic about the proposal, either. Governor Ned Lamont pointed out its shortcomings and commented in an official statement that further gambling expansion is a matter of significant importance. As such, it calls for the involvement of multiple parties and should not be discussed behind closed doors.
The bill proposes an 8% tax to be imposed on sports betting, which is expected to generate revenue of $33 million over the course of five years. Online gambling is to be taxed at 10%, with projected revenue of $87 million for the same timespan.
The planned casino in Bridgeport is estimated to pour as much as $15 million in annual revenue for the state. A spokesperson for the Connecticut State Senate commented the legislators have yet to arrive at a decision about scheduling a special session for the bill.