Connecticut Tribes Push For More Casinos…And Exclusive Rights

Feb 13, 2020

Two Native American tribes in Connecticut made a pitch to lawmakers this week – they want to keep their pact with the state as it considers expanded gaming.

Rodney Butler is the chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, which operates the Foxwoods casino. He says Connecticut is lucky not to have to work with multiple gaming operators.

“We’re dealing with two in the state, right? Three sovereign governments. We can figure this out. Now we’ve gotta stop arguing about it and just implement it and move forward.”

Joseph Verrengia, a House Democrat who co-chairs the Public Safety Committee, says the tribes’ agreement with the state needs to be changed.

“We’re basing our decisions over definitions of the future of sports betting based on language that was 30 years ago. Our compact does not recognize the present gaming landscape.”

The two tribes plan to open a new casino in East Windsor and say they’re interested in opening one in Bridgeport, too. Connecticut lawmakers introduced a bill last month that would allow them to do so.

The tribes face competition from rivals including MGM, who operate a casino in Springfield, Massachusetts, and have also proposed one in Bridgeport.