Connecticut tribes await proposals for a new gaming facility

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler, left, and Mohegan Tribe Chairman Kevin Brown. Photo from CT Jobs Matter

At least two communities plan to submit proposals to host a new tribal casino in Connecticut.

Through a new entity known as MMCT Venture, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe released their request for proposals earlier this month. The deadline to submit is November 6 and leaders of East Hartford and East Windsor are interested.

“We are very eager for a blighted piece of property finally being addressed,” East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc told The Wall Street Journal of a site in the city that could be used for the development.

East Hartford and East Windsor are located along a major interstate near the Massachusetts state line. A casino in that region would compete with a non-Indian commercial casino going up in downtown Springfield, just a few miles from the border.

The New England Casino Race: Tribal and commercial gaming facilities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island

MGM Resorts International is pouring $800 million into that project but an opening won't come until September 2018 at the earliest. The tribes believe they can open their facility much sooner if they are able to secure final approval from the Connecticut Legislature early next year.

MGM is hoping to prevent the tribes from moving forward by suing the state for enacting Senate Bill 1090. The complaint contends the law is unconstitutional because only the tribes are able to operate the potential new casino. The state is seeking to have the case dismissed.

Meanwhile, MGM has adjusted plans for its development in Springfield. Some local officials are worried about the project and the company is meeting with them to address their concerns.

Get the Story:
Northern Connecticut Towns Consider Hosting a Casino (The Wall Street Journal 10/14)
East Hartford Officials Frustrated Over Casino RFP (The Hartford Courant 10/14)
MGM Springfield to update city officials regarding casino plans within next month (MassLive 10/14)

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