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Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

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Sens. Looney, Osten and Anwar Welcome Federal Decision Approving East Windsor Casino

HARTFORD – State Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and Senators Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) and Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) today welcomed federal Interior Department approval of minor changes to the existing Tribal-State Compact between the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes and the State of Connecticut – changes that are needed in order for the tribes to open a new casino in East Windsor.

The brief decision, posted online today, is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Monday, when it will then become official.

“I am pleased that the U.S. Department of Interior has approved the amendment to the state’s existing agreement with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes,” said Sen. Looney. “This step in the process is good news for the tribes and is movement in the right direction for our state. I hope today’s development opens a path to a comprehensive package for Connecticut on the issues of casinos, gambling, and sports betting.”

“Tribal Winds is now approved, and I look forward to the ribbon-cutting and all the jobs it will bring to central Connecticut,” said Sen. Osten, whose Senate district includes the two existing tribal casinos and who introduced a bill this session to bypass the Interior Department process. “I always thought this decision was just a matter of time, I just didn’t know how much time it would take. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this decision comes just a few months after former Interior Department Secretary Zinke resigned in disgrace.”

Sen. Osten is referring to former Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned as Interior Department secretary in January under an ethical cloud; he is now being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for possibly making false statements regarding his actions in delaying approval of the Tribal Winds casino.

“I’m very excited about today’s decision,” said Sen. Anwar, whose Senate district includes East Windsor, where the Tribal Winds casino has already broken ground. “I strongly believe that we have a responsibility to strengthen economic development in East Windsor and neighboring towns. All the work has been done, the site is shovel-ready, and we need to move forward and create 2,000 construction jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs to help improve the lives of people and their families.”

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