A casino resort could be coming to Bridgeport, Connecticut, just most likely not anytime soon. Connecticut’s governor, Ned Lamont, says that he supports a plan by the state’s two native Indian tribes to build the venue, but adds that he doesn’t expect legislation to be ready this year.
Prior to the Connecticut Conference on Tourism, the first-term governor was cornered by reporters who wanted to know where he stood on the subject. Coincidentally, the event was sponsored by Connecticut’s two casino resorts, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.
Lamont told the Connecticut Mirror, “We’re trying to get something done, but we’re not going to get it done in this session.” The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes are hoping to receive approval to build a satellite casino that can compete with the MGM Springfield, an integrated resort that sits close to the Connecticut-Massachusetts border.
Later during the conference, he brought up the state’s relationship with the tribes, stating, “We’ve had a very strong bond and contract going back well over a generation. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that contract stays intact. We are working together going forward.”
Connecticut lawmakers have already approved a bill that would allow the construction of the venue, dubbed Tribal Winds, but it ran into a problem with MGM. The casino giant sued the state, arguing that it had illegally authorized commercial gambling, as the satellite casino was to be built on land not controlled by the tribes.
The issue now sits in legal limbo, with the tribes, MGM, Connecticut and even the Department of the Interior having to get involved, but Connecticut is still behind the tribes. Lamont asserts, “From my point of view, I want a global solution to this thing that’s been stuck in legal limbo for an awful long time. I’d love to make a deal with [Mashantucket Pequot chairman] Rodney.”
No gambling expansion is going to be seen in Connecticut this year, not even sports gambling. The fighting and the tribes’ exclusivity on gambling in the state and the tribes will most likely push for complete control of sports gambling, as well. This is keeping lawmakers away and Representative Joe Verrengia asserts, “I have to imagine that’s probably one of the major issues as their negotiations are going forward, and that’s probably a big reason why this isn’t further along as we all hoped it would be.”