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The Real Story: Casino reopening plans

Jenn Bernstein talks with Mashantucket-Pequot Tribal Chair Rodney Butler, and Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom about the decision to reopen the gambling meccas.

HARTFORD, Connecticut — The Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos have been shut down for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the owners of both casinos plan to partially reopen them on June 1st, with a host of restrictions and new procedures in place. But Governor Ned Lamont says it's unsafe, with too many people from too many places mixing together. Lamont says he hopes to work collegially with the tribes, but also noted that the state controls the casinos' liquor licenses.

The leader of the Mashantucket Pequots, Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler, tells FOX61's Jenn Bernstein that they're open to suggestions about the reopening, but will go ahead with their plans for June 1st. She talks risks, benefits, and how the sovereign nations intend to operate within the framework of their compact with the state. 

RELATED: Inside Look: Foxwoods preparing to open at 25% capacity on June 1

And while the casinos sit within tribal lands, their opening or closing has effects on many people, especially those living in southeastern Connecticut. Jenn talks with Mayor Peter Nystrom, leader of the largest city in the region, Norwich. He says 11% of his community is employed by the casinos, and they need the casinos to reopen.