Tribes win East Windsor battle as Connecticut casino war continues

ICR - East Windsor tribes win Connecticut
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The proposal for a new tribal casino in Connecticut has received a boost ahead of the legislative session deadline as East Windsor residents, the proposed casino location, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the project.


With the end of the legislative session fast approaching, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes have chalked up a considerable victory in the protracted battle for a third casino in Connecticut.

Residents of East Windsor, the proposed location for the tribal joint venture, voted overwhelmingly in favour of plans to situate a casino in the town.

Following more than two hours of discussion many residents spent upwards of an hour queuing to vote on the issue, which not only would have a great impact on the town, but send shockwaves through the entire state.

Decisions in the locality are made through a town meeting, in which residents in attendance vote on an ordinance. The ordinance in question, presented at a special town meeting, was to stop a casino from being built at the former Showcase Cinemas because of its proximity to a residential treatment centre.

According to the town clerk’s office, the final vote was 198 against sending a petition to a referendum for a casino and 112 for the petition against, a result of more than 60 percent in favour of the joint tribal venture.

Although a notable win, the fate of a third casino in Connecticut still rests in the hands of legislators in Hartford where two opposing bills are being considered, put forward by MGM casinos, and the two tribes, respectively.

With the former seeking to open up a competitive bidding process on any new premises, and the latter looking to extend the mutually beneficial tribal compact with the state, the outcome of the legislative session will have huge repercussions throughout the state in both finance and employment.

Following the vote in East Windsor, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot Tribes announced that employees from their respective casinos will be at the Capitol in support of the project which they believe will help keep revenue in state, and act as a buffer against a competing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“As we enter the last month of session, it’s clear there is growing momentum behind our project,” Mohegan Tribal Council chairman Kevin Brown said in a release. “Just last week, the town of East Windsor overwhelmingly reiterated their support for our proposed facility. Now we have only our bill and a competing proposal that will cost the state millions in tax revenue. The choice is clear. And the time to act is now.”

With the Massachusetts facility set to open in the next two years Connecticut legislators can scant afford to delay a decision to another session if they are serious about keeping gaming revenue in the state.

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