The towns of East Hartford and East Windsor are the lone survivors competing for the third casino in Connecticut.
Hartford, Enfield and Windsor Locks all responded to proposal requests issued by MM4CT, the tribal governing body authorized to choose a site for a third casino made possible by Connecticut’s June gaming act. Their exit leaves only East Windsor and East Hartford as the sole bidders for the new casino.
Tribal leaders of the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes have said they will join forces in an effort to beat out the MGM Springfield’s attempt to shield the state’s gaming revenues from out-of-state competition. The two tribes operate Connecticut’s two current casinos. A fall 2018 opening date has been targeted by MGM Springfield. In an effort to expedite the selection process, on October 1 the tribes released their request for proposal which will be answered by the November 6 deadline. They expect to select a site by December 15.
According to First Selectman Denise Menard, East Windsor will submit two responses and hopes to have them submitted by Friday. Meanwhile East Hartford expects to file its proposal on Wednesday, according to Anthony Ravosa Jr, former Springfield city counselor. Ravosa and his team made adjustments to their original proposal after the release of MM4CT’s expectations for the project. The revised plan is in keeping with the more ambitious plan of Pearce Real Estate, managers of the tribe’s proposals. Once submitted to MM4CT the town’s response will be released to the public, according to East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc’s executive secretary, Eli Freund. However, with both Menard and Leclerc vying for seats the proposal process could potentially become complicated, but Menard said she was confident she would win, according to Mass Live.
Regardless of the outcome, construction of a new casino will still have to be authorized by Connecticut’s legislature once a site is chosen. While Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun were given the green light to develop a jointly run casino in Connecticut, the June gaming act only authorizes MM4CT to locate a site in an effort to shield the law from expected legal challenges. Still ongoing, a similar challenge was filed in a federal court in August by MGM Resorts International in an attempt to have the law declared unconstitutional and discriminatory.