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Lamont, Tribes At Odds Over Casino Reopening

Sue Ogrocki
Melody Butler plays a slot machine Tuesday at Thunderbird Casino in Norman, Okla., which recently reopened for business, with restrictions. Connecticut’s two casinos were slated to open June 1, but Gov. Ned Lamont is pushing back on that plan.";

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is urging the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes to reconsider the opening date for their casinos. They had announced that parts of Foxwoods Resort and Mohegan Sun would welcome customers again on June 1. 

Lamont says it would be a risky move for the tribes to open their casinos so soon. He says casinos attract large numbers of people from across state lines, many of them elderly.

“This is an enclosed area, a lot of older people in there, some of them with pre-existing conditions. Alcohol and food is involved, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure that we put public health first.”

Lamont says that includes trying to convince the tribes to hold off on reopening. And discussing with neighboring governors the possibility of a regionally coordinated reopening of casinos.

State Senator Cathy Osten’s district includes the two tribal casinos. She supports reopening the facilities on June 1. She says the tribal casinos play a vital role in the southeastern Connecticut economy. And more than 100 casinos across the country from California to upstate New York are now open.

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