Connecticut Tribes Still Plan to Reopen Casinos on June 1

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Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, has said that the plans to partially reopen Foxwoods Resort Casino on June 1 are still moving ahead despite opposition from Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.

Rodney Butler told in an interview that Lamont is welcome to tour Foxwoods and see firsthand the safety precautions being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, ranging from fewer open slot machines to air filtration systems. But he said Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have been working with experts and following federal and industry safety guidelines to begin reopening parts of the resorts in two weeks.

“We’ll modify it. If they point out opportunities that we’ve missed on being safe from a health perspective, if they think that there’s something that we’re doing in operations that we can do for the better, we’re certainly open to those conversations. But we’re definitely focused on reopening that first week of June,” Butler said.

Gov. Ned Lamont said he hoped to talk with leaders of the sovereign nations and persuade them to delay their planned partial reopenings, but acknowledged the state might have to reach out to unions representing some casino workers, as well as patrons driving to the casinos, and warn them about the potential health dangers.

“I talked to my fellow governors and they feel very strongly that this should be put off. So, we’re going to work collegially, I hope, with the tribes. They want to do everything they can to keep their people safe, keep their customers safe, keep the broader community safe,” Lamont said, referring to reopening casinos.

Lamont also said it could be a terrible business decision for the casinos to open up too early.

But Butler said the casinos are taking smaller reopening steps than shopping malls, which were allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

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