Connecticut House of Representatives debates legalizing marijuana

Connecticut House Greenlights Gambling Expansion Legislative Package

The Connecticut House of Representatives seems no nearer to a conclusion on expanding gambling in the state, and House Speaker Democrat Joe Aresimowicz said he doesn't see the issue making it to a special session.

On the other hand, the second bill of the gambling package will allow Sportech Venues to hold eight additional off-track betting licenses, raising the off-track betting locations throughout the state from the current 18 to 24.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno who has touted the economic benefits of the MGM casino had this reaction to Connecticut's moving forward with a casino in East Windsor. The third casino in the region will be operated by the two Indian tribes.

CT lawmakers have given final legislative approval to a bill that authorizes the state's two federally recognized tribes to open a casino in East Windsor.

The two nations proposed to build a joint casino off-reservation land in order to prevent job cuts and revenue loss when a $950-million casino resort is launched in Springfield, a MA city located not far from the state's border with CT.

Under one of the bills included in the approved gaming package, a new entertainment sharing agreement between the two tribes which now own and operate the Mohegan Sun and the Foxwoods Resort Casino gaming resorts.

The House of Representatives voted in favour of the gaming expansion bill, with the decision coming only a few hours after a deal including more off-track betting parlours across the state of CT was reached. The House then approved a companion bill, by a vote of 77-72. The tribes have warned that thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in slot machine revenues to the state could be at risk if the border casino was not approved.

"We will continue to vigorously advocate in the courts as we seek to protect the constitutional rights of any company hoping to do business in CT", said Uri Clinton, senior vice president and legal counsel for MGM.

The House of Representatives has wrapped up a limited debate on legislation that would legalize recreational use of marijuana in CT without taking a vote. He predicted the facility could be bogged down by legal challenges for years.

The same bill also creates a new entertainment sharing agreement between the tribes - owners and operators of Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun - and entertainment arenas across CT with 5,000 or more seats. Such a move would be in anticipation of the federal government possibly allowing sports betting. As reported by The Connecticut Mirror, the bill would relax the state's restrictions on MMA fights that have made it unfeasible for promoters to stage such matches in the state.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, confirmed the plan Monday night.

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