The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes are pressing on with their plan to build a casino near the Connecticut border with Massachusetts, even though they still don’t have the required federal approvals.
On Monday, demolition crews began clearing the site in East Windsor where the two federally recognized tribes will build their jointly-owned casino. The site, which housed the former Showcase Cinemas, will be knocked down to make way for the 200,000 square foot gambling and entertainment establishment.
The tribal casino, which is expected to open “inside of two years,” wants to compete with the soon-to-open MGM Resorts casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. Scheduled to open in fall, the $950 million Springfield casino lies 13 miles south of the tribes’ planned East Windsor venue.
The tribes have yet to receive the U.S. Department of the Interior’s permission to operate a casino in East Windsor, although its officials are confident that the approval is already within their reach. Mohegan Tribal Council President Kevin Brown was quoted by MassLive saying, the tribes “expect to get that approval in the late spring.”
“We know we are on the right side of the law,” Brown said, according to the news outlet.
Florida Congress approves Seminole gambling deal
Over in the Sunshine state, members of the state House voted 70-40 to approve a gambling bill that includes backing a long-term deal between the state government and the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
House Bill 7067, sponsored by Tourism and Gaming Control Chairman Mike La Rosa, seeks to give the Seminoles exclusive rights to conduct banked card games like blackjack at five of its casinos. The tribe will also have the authority to exclusively offer slot machines in establishments located outside Miami-Date and Broward counties, while pari-mutuel facilities will be barred from offering “designated player” card games.
In exchange, the Seminole tribe will pay $3 billion in taxes to the state over a period of seven years.
It remains unclear whether HB 7067 will pass the state Senate before the annual legislative session ends on Friday. A Senate version of the deal, SB 840, contains key differences from the House bill.