Malloy yet to say whether he’ll sign Connecticut casino bill

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HARTFORD- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has yet to say whether he’ll sign a bill that creates a multi-step process for a possible new tribal casino in Connecticut.

A spokesman for Malloy said Friday the Democrat is still reviewing the legislation, which cleared the House of Representatives hours earlier in the day, 88-55. The bill already passed the Senate.

Malloy was in Oklahoma City Friday for a speech.

The chairmen of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes said they hope Malloy will sign the bill, allowing them to begin the process of finding a site in north-central Connecticut for a casino to compete with a gambling facility in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Malloy was unenthusiastic about an earlier version of the legislation, which the attorney general warned could prompt constitutional challenges. The bill was later revised.

The measure is a retooled version of a bill which would have allowed the tribes that own Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resorts Casinos to open up to three casinos to help combat out-of-state gambling competition. But the Attorney General warned that legislation could prompt legal challenges.

This new bill allows the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots to enter into a development agreement with one host community. That deal would need legislative approval.

Rep. Stephen Dargan says the bill shows Connecticut wants to protect jobs in southeastern Connecticut. Opponents questioned that thinking.

Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler issued a statement on the vote that said, “We are pleased and grateful to the State House of Representatives for their support of a plan to protect thousands of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods jobs and revenue from out of state competition. This legislation, which we hope will be signed by the Governor, will begin a process by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes to invest millions to identify the best site for a satellite gaming facility in north central Connecticut, and to work with state and federal officials to ensure the state and our two Tribal governments are legally protected.”

“We thank the General Assembly for its support and leadership on the urgent matter of protecting a valuable Connecticut industry and its employees, and for their continued government-to-government partnership with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes.”