Proposed Connecticut casino study shot down by Commerce Committee

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HARTFORD – The Commerce Committee today voted against an independent state study of a proposed third casino near Connecticut’s border with Massachusetts.

The Commerce Committee was considering Thursday whether to forward a bill calling for a study. An early vote tally showed support was split but a final count  later in the afternoon failed to gain enough votes to pass.

Leaders of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have urged lawmakers to defeat the bill, predicting it could delay their plans to open a casino in northern Connecticut to compete with a planned $950 million casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Democratic Rep. Chris Perone, the committee’s co-chairman, said the proposed study would not affect the tribes’ plans. He said it would help lawmakers make informed decisions for the state.

“The issue at hand is simple,” said Andrew Doba, spokesman for MMCT Venture, the company formed by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes in a statement released after Thursday afternoon’s final vote. “If we do nothing to compete against MGM Springfield, Connecticut will lose more than 9,000 jobs and over $100 million in state tax revenue. Those are the facts, and we appreciate the support we’re getting from the many legislators who want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”