Forty members of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation visited lawmakers at the state Capitol to reiterate the tribe’s call for Connecticut to pass a bill allowing for open casino expansion competition, the Hartford Courant reported. Representatives of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation say that the bill will allow more casino managers to operate in the Constitution State.
The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, which is based in Kent, has also expressed opposition to a competing bill currently before the Connecticut legislature. That bill would pave the way for a so-called satellite casino to be established in East Windsor. Such a casino would be the first in Connecticut to be located outside of tribal lands.
Two other indigenous tribal groups, the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, have spearheaded the campaign to allow the two tribes to jointly operate the East Windsor casino off their tribal lands. The measure was approved by a key committee in the legislature on Monday, May 8th.
Among their arguments before the state legislature, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation claims the state would benefit more from a casino in Connecticut’s southwest than it would from the East Windsor casino. East Windsor is located northeast of the state capital of Hartford.
Richard Velky, Chief of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, said a casino in Connecticut’s southwest would benefit the state by tapping into the New York gambling market, since the proposed new Schaghticoke casino would be located only 50 miles outside of Manhattan. Velky said the tribe was willing and able to compete in southwestern Connecticut’s gambling market and only needs the bill to be passed so that work could begin.
Velky has held the position of tribal chair of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation since 1987.
In unrelated tribal news, the Associated Press reports that tribal gambling grew 4.2% in Arizona in the first quarter of 2017. This translates to a revenue increase of approximately $25 million between the first of the year and March 31st. Daniel Bergin, the Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, said the increase is a welcome change from the previous quarters, which had shown a decline. Throughout Arizona, Class III casinos affiliated with indigenous tribes contribute 1-8% of gross gaming revenue to town, city, county, and state budgets.
Of this $25 million, nearly $12.5 million is earmarked to go to the state’s Instructional Improvement Fund, which supports education. An additional $6.2 million will be used to fund emergency and trauma services. The rest supports the Department of Gaming’s operating costs as well as wildlife conservation and state tourism efforts.
Arizona recognizes 17 Native American tribes located entirely or almost entirely within its borders. Four other tribes–the Colorado River Indian Tribes, the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, the Navajo Nation, and the Quechan Tribe of Fort Yuma–have territory that includes part of Arizona.