- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval Wednesday to a bill that would expand the number of off-track betting facilities across the state.

Under the provision, Sportech Venues can have eight more off-track-betting licenses, for a total of 24 locations.

The locations will be subject to local and state approval.

The bill was crafted to garner votes for another bill authorizing the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a border casino in East Windsor. It cleared the Senate Wednesday night, 22-14, and now heads to the governor.

Ted Taylor, president of Sportech, said the company applauds the legislation increasing the number of OTB facilities. However, he said “more work needs to be done” to protect its 400 jobs in Connecticut. Without offering any specifics, he said Sportech is willing to work with the state toward “a fair arrangement” that will allow the company to build on its investment in Connecticut.

Like the two tribes, who own and operate Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, Sportech has voiced concern about the impact of competition from the MGM Resorts casino being built in Springfield, Massachusetts. Sportech operates an OTB venue in nearby Windsor Locks.

The bill that cleared the Senate also creates a new entertainment sharing agreement between the tribes and venues to recruit entertainment acts, and requires the Department of Consumer Protection to set up a framework for sports betting in anticipation of the federal government possibly permitting it.

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