Connecticut tribes consider proposals for third gaming facilty

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

Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes are planning to build a new gaming facility that would address competition from neighboring Massachusetts.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe operate separate casinos on their reservations in the southeastern part of the state. But with a $950 million commercial facility under construction just across the border, they joined forces and convinced the Connecticut Legislature to pave the way for a new facility.

Four communities have since submitted five proposals to host that facility. East Hartford, East Windsor, Hartford and Windsor Locks are located along a major highway that leads to Massachusetts so a casino in the area could help keep gamblers from going to the MGM facility in Springfield, just a few miles from the state line.

But before the tribes can move forward, they must secure approval from the host community. They have offered to pay for a referendum in hopes of selecting a location by December 15.

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

"It’s our goal to be part of a municipality that understands the benefits a facility like this will bring to its community, and we want to let everyone know that we intend to do our part from the very beginning," Mashantucket Chairman Rodney Butler and Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown wrote in letters to the elected officials, according to a copy posted by Windsor Locks-East Windsor Patch.

Once the tribes pick a site, they will return to the Legislature next year to secure approval for the facility. If the effort is successful, they believe they can open the casino within 12 to 15 months. The Springfield facility is not expected to open until September 2018 at the earliest.

MGM Resorts International, meanwhile, has promised to do whatever it takes to stop the tribes. The company has a lawsuit pending in federal court that challenges the constitutionality of the law that opened the bidding process for the new casino. A decision hasn't been issued.

Get the Story:
Joint Tribal Council Urges Towns to Move Forward With Casino Approval (Windsor Locks-East Windsor Patch 11/24)
Windsor Locks officials meet to discuss casino proposal (WSFB 11/24)
MMCT Venture asks Connecticut towns to approve proposals for potential third casino to compete with MGM Springfield (The Springfield Republican 11/24)
Tribes would pay for referendums in towns seeking to host third casino (The New London Day 11/25)
Windsor Locks To Hold Public Hearing On Possible Casino Development (The Hartford Courant 11/25)
MGM battles Conn. proposal for rival casino (The Boston Globe 11/25)

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