The following are American jurisdictions having recent activity concerning legal gambling.
* – States and territories with gaming devices are marked with an asterisk: *
! – States with at least one casino (defined as having both banking card games and slot-like machines) are marked with an exclamation point: !
!* CONNECTICUT – State and federal officials are investigating allegations in the book Without Reservation, which challenges the federal recognition of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, owners of Foxwoods, the largest, most profitable casino in the world. Then-Gov. Weicker signed compacts giving an oligopoly on slots to the Pequots and later to the Mohegans for 25% of net slot win or $80 million each, whichever is greater. So far, the state has received more than $1 billion. The compacts lack any limits, so both casinos keep growing. Foxwoods has a 315,310 square-foot casino with 370 table games, keno, poker tables, race book, high-stakes bingo and 5,944 slot machines. The two Indian casinos will win more than $1.5 billion this year, making them the third largest casino market in the U.S. Five more tribes are close to getting federal approval. Legal gambling has surpassed corporate income tax to become the third largest source of revenue in the state budget, behind the personal income tax and the sales tax. Connecticut’s last jai alai fronton is closing in Dec. 2001; Hartford closed in 1995 and Bridgeport fronton was converted to a dog track.
* DELAWARE – A 1994 law allowed each of the state’s three Casino Malaysia racetracks to have up to 1,000 slot-machine-like video lottery terminals (VLTs). “Racinos” opened over the 1996 New Year’s Eve weekend. The Legislature keeps raising the number of permitted machines. Delaware Park and Dover Downs each have the state’s present limit of 2,000, Harrington has 1,151. Racinos have been good for the tracks: Large purses have made Harrington (Midway) a national leader in harness races. Three-quarters of the Lottery’s revenue now comes from VLTs. The Legislature is considering a bill legalizing riverboat casinos.
FLORIDA – Following the Seminole decision, the tribe asked Babbitt for casino regulations. Suits have been filed, but the tribe is expanding its four bingo halls/casinos with video gaming devices, without compacts or regulations. A $17 million casino initiative lost big in 1994. The State Supreme Court will decide whether casinos violate the State Constitution; if not, proponents still have to gather a half million signatures to get on the 2002 ballot. In March 1999, a House committee approved, 8-0, electronic slots at tracks and jai-alai frontons. But claims that this would open the door to full casinos killed the proposal. A ballot initiative to allow counties to have referenda on slots at horse and dog tracks and jai alai frontons has gathered enough signatures to be sent to the State Supreme Court; if cleared, it will need more signatures to make the Nov. 2002 ballot. At least 22 casino ships operate cruises-to-nowhere out of Florida’s ports. Recent court decisions could allow the state or even local governments to put the ships out of business, though an anti-gaming bill aimed at cruise-to-nowhere operators was defeated in Aug. 2000.