On Thursday night, over 500 individuals met in a high school auditorium located in Windsor locks to listen to the tribal leaders of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes as they discussed their plans for building a third casino in Connecticut. The presentation took place just two days after the tribal leaders were in East Windsor discussing the same casino plans, as the town is the second finalist in the search for a site in the Hartford area.
The tribes plan on creating a gaming venue to compete with the MGM Springfield Casino, a $950 million project currently under construction in Springfield. The tribes have stated that the Springfield venue would take away direct and indirect jobs as well as more than $330 million in revenues. Annual state tax revenues have been estimated to decrease by over $68 million.
Rodney Butler is the tribal council chairman for the Mashantucket Pequot who spoke along with Kevin Brown, the tribal chairman for the Mohegan tribe during the meeting. The tribes are offering the Windsor Locks community a 200,000 square foot casino that will see $300 million invested in the venue. The casino would have 2,000 slot machines and provide 6,600 new union jobs. Property tax revenues have been estimated at $4.5 million to $6 million.
During the meeting, both Brown and Butler stated that the competition is fierce between East Windsor and Windsor Locks. MMCT, the joint venture of the two tribes, have been taking bids from developers and just recently eliminated Hartford, South Windsor and East Hartford from the site list. In East Windsor, the site under consideration is the property housing the abandoned Showcase Cinemas which is located on Interstate 91 at exit 45. In Windsor Locks, the Thrall tobacco farm has been proposed as the site for the casino, a property located off Route 20 and I-91.
During the Windsor Locks meeting, 21 residents asked questions or made comments on the casino project. Many wondered about the road conditions as they are currently subpar and if any changes would be made to renovate the roadways. Others were not happy about the proposal and commented on gambling problems that could take place due to visiting a casino frequently.
The tribal chairmen stated that traffic concerns are normal and traffic mitigation is something MMCT takes seriously. When responding to comments of crime concerns, the tribal leaders commented that they have operated casinos for many years and in the areas where they operate have actually seen crime rates drop.
This article has been updated to correct a typographical error.