In Connecticut, building work will soon reportedly start on the proposed $300 million satellite casino for the community of East Windsor after the federal government finally signed off on changes to the gaming compacts of the two tribes behind the scheme.
MMCT Venture proposal:
According to a Thursday report from the Hartford Courant newspaper, the coming venue has been provisionally named the Mohegan Sun Foxwoods East Windsor and is to be built and operated by the MMCT Venture joint enterprise of the state’s casino-operating Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.
The newspaper reported that the authorization from the United States Department of the Interior was received yesterday almost two years after state lawmakers ratified amendments to the decades-old gaming compacts the two federally-recognized tribes hold with Connecticut. These agreements give the Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation the exclusive rights to operate slots in the eastern state in exchange for agreeing to hand over 25% of their proceeds from such activities, which is estimated to be worth up to $250 million a year.
The Mohegan Tribe is responsible via its Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment vehicle for the Mohegan Sun development in southeastern Connecticut while the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation runs the nearby Foxwoods Resort Casino. They are hoping that the coming East Windsor facility will serve as a bulwark against MGM Resorts International’s recently-opened MGM Springfield facility in neighboring Massachusetts and had been waiting since July of 2017 to receive the required federal approval to their amended gaming compacts.
The Hartford Courant reported that this unusually long delay had even prompted the state to join with the tribes in order to file a lawsuit against the United States Department of the Interior in hopes of being able to expedite the matter. This purportedly later led to the initiation of an investigation into whether the federal body’s former head, Ryan Zinke, had lied about his judgments on the East Windsor project during an official inquiry.
The newspaper reported that the plan for the Mohegan Sun Foxwoods East Windsor is to involve the construction of an 188,000 sq ft entertainment and gaming venue on the site of a former Showcase Cinema franchise featuring a 100,000 sq ft gaming floor to offer approximately 1,800 slots alongside 60 gaming tables. The tribes have purportedly declared that the project, which is expected to create up to 2,000 full-time new jobs, is ‘shovel ready’ and could begin welcoming guests as soon as October of next year.
However, the project could still face legal opposition from MGM Resorts International as the operator believes that state officials should have conducted a competitive bidding process for the right to bring a third casino to Connecticut. The Las Vegas-headquartered firm wants to be given permission to build a $675 million waterfront casino in the city of Bridgeport and has vowed to continue its fight against the off-reservation Mohegan Sun Foxwoods East Windsor.