March 19, 2008

Connecticut's legislature is considering a bill that could extend a smoking ban to the state's two tribal casinos, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. Executives at Foxwoods argued in a statement that the resort already has nonsmoking sections and advanced ventilation systems, and questioned the authority of the state to apply the ban to sovereign tribes. "Principles of sovereignty in no way bar this measure, because the tribes have already agreed -- as a condition in the Compacts -- to adopt public health standards at least as rigorous as the state's public health laws," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said last week. Blumenthal suggested the casinos negotiate with legislators before any bill is passed, to preempt a future court battle.

The Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (Fla.) unveiled 700 Las Vegas-style slot machines last week. The machines were added in accordance with an agreement to install Class III gaming reached last year between the Seminole tribe of Florida and Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Slots, baccarat and blackjack now are legal at the tribe's seven resorts and casinos around the state. The pact was challenged by the Florida State Senate and House of Representatives and currently is being reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court.