Connecticut Lawmakers Plan Gambling Expansion Topics for Special Session

Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy will meet with legislative leaders this week to discuss plans for a special session. The primary purpose of the meeting would be to advance sports betting legislation before the end of the year, but additional gambling expansion topics could be included.

Senator Cathy Osten says the only other topic that is deserving of discussion in a special session is the East Windsor casino project. Osten, whose district is home to the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos, wants the legislature to accept that the state does not need approval from the Department of the Interior to move forward with the East Windsor project.

The project would be the first tribal casino in the state to be operated off tribal lands. The DoI’s Bureau of Indian Affairs issued an opinion earlier this month denying approval for the project. Osten believes the state’s agreement with the tribe which would allow them to build the casino is still standing.

Osten believes lawmakers should amend state law to prevent this confusion in the future. The amendment would eliminate the need for federal approval for agreements between the state and the tribes.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes say they are the only entities in the state legally eligible to offer sports betting. The tribal attorney general sent a letter to the state this week outlining the wording in the state-tribal compact that gives them exclusive rights to provide such wagering.

Gov. Malloy disagrees. His current plan would allow the tribes, state lottery, and off-track betting operators to all launch sports betting.

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