Connecticut lawmakers to hear about dueling casino bill

Lawmakers are scheduled to hear testimony Monday

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The casino war continues to heat up. Lawmakers are looking at a bill that would allow more than just the Native American Tribes the right to operate casinos in the state. If approved, commercial operators could enter the game.

The lawmakers are scheduled to hear testimony Monday on a bill that would allow commercial operators and tribes the right develop manage, operate and even maintain a casino. Those interested would have to prove to the state they can pay a nonrefundable $50 million state licensing fee, and agree to invest no less than $500 million.

The agreement would open up the playing field and allow other investors an opportunity to open a casino.

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Scott Makula of East Windsor told 22News that competition is good, saying, “I think they should allow them to do it and then it would be more competition and maybe we’ve have bigger casinos. Open it up to everyone, why limit it to just the Indians.”

Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods want to build a joint-tribal casino in East Windsor to take business away from MGM Springfield and preserve the business they already have. The two casinos want to convert a vacant cinema off I-91 in East Windsor into a $300 million gambling and entertainment complex.

The bill that would allow them to open a casino on non-tribal land remains stalled in the Connecticut state legislature.

MGM Springfield said they are ahead of schedule for their planned opening date of September 2018.