Connecticut circling wagons

Dec 17, 2002 4:36 AM

   Two of the country’s most successful entertainment resorts — make that casinos — are located in Connecticut. The Foxwoods Casino Resort, operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Tribe and the Mohegan Sun Resort, run by the Mohegan Tribe, have been huge successes since opening during the past decade.

   So successful, have these casinos been, that other Indian tribes with Connecticut roots, are looking to cash in on the deal.

   That has resulted in a major effort on the part of anti-casino people to take efforts to ban further expansion of gaming in Connecticut.

   The vehicle they hope to use is the state’s current law that permits charitable institutions to conduct so-called Las Vegas Nights. The courts have ruled that since this gambling is permitted for charities, then it gives the right to Indians to conduct such gaming activities at a casino.

   State Rep. Jefferson B. Davis, a Democrat from Pomfret, has filed a bill that would repeal Las Vegas nights, despite the fact that such a ban would hurt both the charity benefiting from the event as well as nearly a dozen small businesses that supply the equipment for such gatherings.

   “I appreciate that this is an inconvenience for the people who supply this equipment,” Davis said, “but against the bigger backdrop, I just don’t find their argument convincing.”

   Although such legislation might generate legal challenges, it in no way would affect current raffles and bingo games and in effect it would establish both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun as state monopolies.