Connecticut lawmakers, tribes, push for more gaming facilities

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HARTFORD--A group of Democratic lawmakers, tribal leaders and casino workers announced new legislation which would allow for the construction of up to three new gaming facilities in Connecticut.

Under the legislation proposed on Tuesday, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes would operate a facility together. "It would have slots. Maybe some table games. Definitely not a hotel. I don't think it would have venues, other types of concert venues,” state Sen. Bob Duff told reporters.

The proposal comes at a time when tribal leaders say they are losing profits and fear they could lose more with the construction of a new casino in Springfield, Massachusetts. A chart provided at Tuesday's news conference said that the 80 percent of the Springfield casino’s patrons are expected to come from Connecticut.

"We won't let Massachusetts bus out our jobs and we're going to fight very hard to make sure we keep jobs in our state,” Duff said.

Lawmakers would not commit to any specific locations in the state, but said somewhere along the I-91 corridor between Hartford and Springfield is a definite possibility.

"I think the Massachusetts facility is set to open in about 2.5 years, so that is the timetable. We hope to be ahead of that, I would hope,”state  Senate President Martin Looney said.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for March 17.