As it continues construction of its $950 million MGM Springfield project in central Massachusetts, American casino operator MGM Resorts International has reportedly called on the tribes behind a rival casino being planned for nearby Connecticut to release the economic analysis that led them to select sites in either East Windsor or Windsor Locks.
According to a report from the Hartford Courant newspaper, Friday saw MMCT Venture, which is a joint venture of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, narrow the location for its desired north Connecticut casino after eliminating proposals from the communities of East Hartford, Hartford and South Windsor.
“MMCT Venture has indicated that the economic analysis was pivotal in their decision-making and officials at the state and local levels have a right to see the study first-hand,” Alan Feldman, Global Government And Industry Affairs Executive Vice-President for Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International, told the newspaper. “Communities should not be negotiating in the dark and the public should not be kept in the dark.”
Due to open in the autumn of 2018 offering some 3,000 slots alongside 75 gaming tables, MGM Springfield is set to be located only about 15 miles from the northern Connecticut communities of East Windsor and Windsor Locks while the rejected South Windsor is approximately 19 miles away with Hartford and East Hartford lying almost 30 miles distant.
For its part, MMCT Venture has reportedly been considering which site to select for over a year and has already completed two rounds of proposals. The planned casino still requires legislative approval once a location is eventually selected although the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority still hope to have the new facility open around the same time as MGM Springfield.
“MGM Resorts International wants nothing more than to distract from the only single point that really matters; if MGM Resorts International wins, Connecticut loses,” Andrew Doba from MMCT Venture told the Hartford Courant. “It’s that simple.”
The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority operates the giant Mohegan Sun casino in south-eastern Connecticut while the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is responsible for the nearby Foxwoods Resort Casino and both reportedly previously stated that a Hartford-area venture would serve as a defensive measure against the competitive threat posed by the coming MGM Springfield.
“MGM Resorts International knows that the two remaining towns under consideration will hurt its bottom line,” Doba told the newspaper.
MGM Resorts International has reportedly gone to court to challenge a Connecticut law that is allowing MMCT Venture and no one else to select the site for its planned casino, which would be only the third such Class III venue in the small north-eastern state, and earlier criticized the tribes for their “lack of transparency” in pursuing possible locations.
Monday reportedly saw Feldman again declare that the results of an economic analysis MGM Resorts International commissioned had concluded that “south-west Connecticut is the location that would result in the creation of many more jobs and the raising of significantly more revenues than would a casino in north-central Connecticut”.
However, Doba told the newspaper that MGM Resorts International wants MMCT Venture’s planned casino to be located in south-western Connecticut “because it’s as far away from its billion-dollar casino in Massachusetts as possible not because it’s good for the state’s economy”.