Five bids were received by the deadline in November to host the third Connecticut casino, which will be a partnership of the parties that own the first two. The Mohegan and Pequot tribes, with the blessing of the state legislature, have joined forces to try to prevent gaming revenue from falling further than it already has. Revenue from their two casinos has fallen from .2 billion in 2006 to billion last year.
They hope to get their satellite casino up and running before the projected fall 2018 opening of the MGM Springfield.
The five locations are in the towns of East Hartford, East Windsor, Hartford and Windsor Locks.
“The response we’ve received since releasing the RFP has been overwhelming,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council. “Our mission hasn’t changed. We want this new facility to be located in a community that wants us there and values the jobs and revenue we’ll bring.”
The next step, says Butler, is to evaluate the options and decide on a winner. MMCT Ventures, the partnership between the two tribes, hopes to make a decision by December 15. The Connecticut General Assembly needs to approve that selection. The next legislative session begins in February.
East Hartford Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc was most aggressive in promoting the bid from her town. The former Showcase Cinemas site is perfect for the casino, she says. The 25-acre site is visible from Interstate 84, with more than 130,000 vehicles passing by daily, and “represents a fully compliant package of municipal support, quick time to market, extremely high visibility from the highway and easy access from the Greater Hartford region.”
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra isn’t quite as enthusiastic, but wants to keep options open for the incoming mayor, Luke Bronin, who was elected last Tuesday.
“It is our understanding that gaming is a probability for the Greater Hartford region and regardless of the location, the capital city will feel its impact,” Segarra told the AP. “For this reason, we have responded with our own proposal to keep that door open so that the next administration and the residents of Hartford will have the opportunity to weigh in on the process and make a final determination of what is in the best interest of our city.”