The cost of Massachusetts casinos to Connecticut

It is widely accepted that the casinos that will soon begin popping up in Massachusetts will cause a major cut in revenue the state receives from its casinos — and now a price tag has been calculated as to how painful it may be.

The legislature’s budget office estimates the state may be headed for a $95 million a year cut in funding from Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun resorts, a 25 percent reduction. This comes against the backdrop that the state’s executive and legislative fiscal offices had been expecting an increase in revenue from them — from $354.8 million this fiscal year to $388.9 million in four years.

This anticipated cut by the Office of Fiscal Analysis, the legislature’s nonpartisan budget office, is expected as most casino patrons who live in Massachusetts and other nearby states will select to attend the closest casino and not travel to Connecticut’s. Nearly one-third and one-fifth of Foxwoods and Sun patrons are from Massachusetts and an additional 5 percent and 3 percent are from Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont, according to the report by the Policy Analysis Center at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.

Connecticut has received 25 percent of receipts from video slot games at its Indian casinos since 1993, when then-Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. negotiated a compact that ended the state’s legal objections to the use of those games. Though the majority of the state’s share supports the general Fund, a total of $61.8 million will be distributed this fiscal year as grants to 169 cities and towns.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he wants a “more aggressive” lottery and is eyeing online gambling now that the U.S. Department of Justice has paved the way with a recent ruling.

“Obviously, we have to be concerned,” Malloy told the Mirror earlier this year of the looming cut in revenue from the casinos.


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