Connecticut Casino Receives Federal Approval in Sudden Shift

By Joe Nocco

March 27th, 2019 - 8:58am

Connecticut is already the home of two of the better-known casinos in the country – Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun.

However, it appears the New England state will add another casino in East Windsor, a town in Hartford County.

A soon-to-be erected tribal casino, which stems from a plan that initially encountered quite the back-and-forth battle, will now be constructed after officially receiving the proper approval from the federal government.

Casino a Joint Effort of Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot Tribes

This casino, notably to be built through a joint effort by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, will sit on non-reservation land.

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes said they believe that the project is "shovel ready.'' The casino’s projected opening is 18 to 24 from the time construction begins.

The project is another step toward more gambling options for Connecticut residents. Casino, poker, lotteries, bingo and betting on horse and dog racing are legal in Connecticut either at the two casinos or at other outlets.

The Nutmeg State has yet to approve sports betting, though a bill was introduced this year which would allow it.

"Now that the approval of our amendment is secured and our exclusivity agreement with the state of Connecticut is reaffirmed, we will move forward with construction on Tribal Winds Casino in East Windsor and preserve much needed jobs and revenue,” the chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Rodney Butler, told the Hartford Courant.

Sports Betting in Connecticut Still Faces Obstacles

However, like most legalized gambling-related decisions, this one met some controversy.

Some pushback from the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the United States Department of the Interior delayed the plan to build an East Windsor casino.

But a notice from the federal government revealed that the approval would be formally published in the Federal Register, which it was on March 25.

Four members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation wasted no time in releasing a collective statement opposing the approval.

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Representatives John Larson and Joe Courtney released the statement regarding an ongoing grand jury investigation of former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

His “decisions regarding the East Windsor project” are among those for which Zinke, who resigned in December, has been investigated.

Statement by Connecticut Politicians Regarding Measure

“The Department had failed to approve these amendments to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe Gaming Procedures for nearly two years — long since staff at the Bureau of Indian Affairs recommended an approval,” the politicians said, according to the Hartford Courant.

“This unnecessary and unethical delay has prompted a grand jury investigation, which remains ongoing, and an inspector general review of the department’s actions. We look forward to their findings.”

Still, construction should eventually take place, thanks to the recent note of federal approval. With legalized gambling – and specifically sports betting – sweeping through the country, it is hard to imagine much more of a delay to this process.
Written By
Joe Nocco

Joe Nocco writes about gambling news for TopUsBets. His background is primarily sports-related and he’s one of the more balanced reporters in the betting business in terms of experience.

He’s also a regular contributor to Clutch Points and has covered... Read More

Joe Nocco writes about gambling news for TopUsBets. His background is primarily sports-related and he’s one of the more balanced reporters in the betting business in terms of experience....

Read More