Tribes say they’re ‘days’ away from unveiling casino site near Mass. border

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Officials from Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes said Thursday they’re days away from announcing a location for a proposed jointly owned casino near the Massachusetts border.

Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, said the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes will need the General Assembly to pass legislation this session authorizing the state’s third casino. The tribes currently own and operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino in southeastern Connecticut. They contend a third casino is needed to combat competition from the new MGM Resorts International casino opening in late 2018 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“There is draft language in the hands of the legislature,” Brown said. “We have to get it passed this session. We are at the 11th hour.”

The two tribes joined forces about 15 months ago on a plan for a third casino. They’ve since narrowed their possible sites to locations in East Windsor and Windsor Locks. The tribes have said the attraction would cost about $200 million to $300 million and would be much smaller than their current facilities.

At an informational hearing Thursday before the General Assembly’s Public Safety Committee, representatives from MGM and other entities suggested lawmakers open the casino process to groups besides the tribes and ultimately reap more revenue for the state.

“We think the place to build in Connecticut is the southwest,” Uri Clinton, MGM’s senior vice president and deputy general counsel, told committee members. He said a casino license in southwestern Connecticut “could be highly valuable because of the proximity to the New York market,” and could possibly generate more money than what the state receives from the tribes.

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