EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (WTIC and AP) – Leaders of Connecticut’s two federally recognized Indian tribes are pushing ahead with plans to build a casino, despite delays in federal approvals.

The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes took the first step Monday toward demolishing an old movie theater, the planned site of their jointly owned gambling facility.

More than 100 people cheered when a piece of heavy equipment knocked the first bricks from a corner of the abandoned theater.

The tribal chairmen are urging Connecticut lawmakers to stand by legislation they passed last year allowing the casino to be built. They’ve argued it’s needed to compete with a new MGM casino, opening soon in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.

Lawmakers from Bridgeport and other cities are pushing for an open casino bidding process, allowing other operators into the state.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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