Closing 'sovereign' tribal casinos is a tricky issue for Lamont

Published on Monday, 16 March 2020 20:51
Written by The Associated Press

HARTFORD (AP) - Businesses across Connecticut, from the sprawling Mohegan Sun casino to small, independently owned Pilates studios, were preparing to shut down or curtail their services Monday to comply with a new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

Mohegan Sun said the Mohegan Tribal Council was “in discussions” with Lamont’s office and was already shutting down various parts of the property in Uncasville, such as the race book, poker room and buffet and the Earth Hotel Tower. Some gambling and other amenities will remain open at least temporarily.

“These are difficult times the state and nation are facing, and as such, they bring about difficult decisions for Mohegan Sun and Mohegan Tribal leadership,” said Jeff Hamilton, president and general manager of Mohegan Sun in a written statement.

Lamont acknowledged Monday there are “legal and jurisdictional issues” concerning whether the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes would agree to his call to close their casinos.

“We are urging the tribes in the strongest possible way, they ought to be closing down those casinos,” Lamont said.

Soon afterward, the Mohegans announced various closures on Monday and promised additional updates related to the temporary public closure will be coming soon. In a written statement, the Mashantuckets said they’ve also already taken steps to address coronavirus at their Foxwoods Resort Casino and have been in ongoing contact with Lamont’s office and “anticipate communicating more details” by the end of Monday.

Posted in New Britain Herald, State on Monday, 16 March 2020 20:51. Updated: Monday, 16 March 2020 20:53.