Governor Dannel Malloy signed legislation Tuesday allowing Connecticut’s two federally-recognized Native American tribes to run a casino in East Windsor.
Under the legislation, the joint venture between the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes will make an initial $1 million payment to the state. Connecticut will receive 25 percent of the casino’s gross gaming revenue, according to the governor's office. Under the legislation, the towns of Ellington, Enfield, South Windsor, Windsor Locks, East Hartford, and Hartford will receive annual grants from the state of $750,000. The Connecticut Legislature approved the legislation in early June.
The tribes want to open the casino to compete with the MGM Resorts casino expected to open in 2018 in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts and protect jobs at their existing southeastern Connecticut casinos.
“Over the years, our state has maintained a longstanding partnership and compact with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations, who employ thousands of Connecticut residents at their casinos,” Governor Malloy, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Make no mistake about it – the legislation I signed today is about jobs for the residents of Connecticut, and securing those jobs in our state.”
“Today the Governor signed one of the most significant jobs bills passed by the General Assembly this legislative session,” Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler said in a statement released by Malloy's office. “With so much at stake, we can’t thank him and his partners in the legislature enough for standing with us in our fight to save jobs and revenue in Connecticut.”
“With a stroke of the pen, we are that much closer to turning our proposal for an entertainment and gaming facility in East Windsor into reality,” Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown said in a statement released by the governor's office. “We’re excited about the future, and tremendously thankful for the leadership of the Governor and the many legislators from both parties who rallied to protect jobs in our state that would otherwise have been lost.”
Tribal officials still need various federal and local authorizations. They hope to begin construction by the end of the year.