While some legislators want Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly to consider expanding casinos across the Nutmeg State, others say no dice.
State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, a Democrat representing New Haven in the 94th House District, frowns on the whole idea.
“Sure you can raise revenue but what are you promoting to do it?” Holder-Winfield said.
He also questions whether adding to Foxwoods would make Connecticut more competitive.
“Casinos? Not a fan of expanding them!” said state Rep. Brenda Kupchick, a Republican representing Fairfield in the 132nd House District. “There's so much data that shows how detrimental they are to the cities and towns were they're built.”
Aside from concerns of a more moral nature, there are concerns of the money kind.
Simply put, Fred Carstensen, director for the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis at the University of Connecticut, questions whether more roulette tables mean more revenue.
“I don’t see that expanding gambling in Connecticut would have much impact – we already have a lot between the casinos and the state lottery,” Carstensen said. “If you opened facilities in Bridgeport or western Connecticut it would largely divert gambling from the current sites. There might be some gain, but there are costs too – policing, transportation.”
Because the next session is a short session, lawmakers will be hard pressed to find time to deal with more than tweaking the budget and tackling education. Still, with a shaky economy issues like expanding gaming beyond Foxwoods might be explored.
“As for expanding casinos, I am not a fan of gambling, but I do think we need to decide which way we are going to go with regard to the casinos and other forms of legalized gambling,” said state Rep. Fred Camillo, a Republican representing Greenwich in the 151st House District. “I am aware of the revenue generated by gambling and the ways we can increase (advertising dollars) revenue to the state that doesn't include involuntary taxes."
"It is a discussion that needs to take place,” he said.
Some lawmakers want to understand the stakes more before deciding.
State Rep. Kim Rose, a Democrat representing Milford in the 116th House District, said she still needs to hear both sides.