When MGM Resorts decided that they were going to develop a multi-million dollar casino complex in Springfield, Massachusetts it posed serious concerns for the casino industry in neighboring Connecticut as state legislators were concerned that a large chunk of their gaming revenue would be lost to the MGM Springfield facility.
As a result, they decided to approve a third casino license in the state which was then awarded to the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes who decided to come together in a joint-venture to develop the third casino. The idea was to build a casino near the state border so that it would stop gamblers from Connecticut going across the border and also to keep gaming jobs within the state.
The two tribes took a significant amount of time to decide on a location to develop the third casino and at one point of time were discussing as many as 5 locations. In the end, it came down to just two locations in East Windsor and Windsor Locks and in the end, the East Windsor location was finalized as the site for the third casino.
The location is an old movie theatre complex situated off Interstate 91 which is about 20 minutes down the I-91. The Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, Rodney Butler stated that the tribes decided to go with the East Windsor location after the East Windsor board of selectman voted unanimously to host the casino in their town. The chairman stated that they always wanted to develop a casino in a town which welcomed their project as the partnership between the tribes and East Windsor would be mutually beneficial to both parties.
East Windsor is set to receive $3 million in payments from the casino developer 15 months before the facility can open. The facility is also expected to generate around $5.5 million each year in gaming taxes and in addition to this the casino will pay the town $3 million each year. The tribal casino is also expected to create a number of part time construction jobs during the development phase and then hundreds of full time jobs when the casino becomes fully operational.
A selectman for East Windsor stated that the majority of locals within the town were happy to support the development of the third casino as they realize the benefits that it brings to the town. The spokesman also acknowledged the fact that there was a minority in East Windsor that was not in favor of hosting the casino as they were concerned of the negative impacts the casino will have on the town. However East Windsor has decided to move ahead with the proposal as the positives far outweigh any of the potential threats the casino might bring to East Windsor.
MGM Resorts has been one of the biggest opponents of the third tribal casino and has taken the legal route to try and stop the casino from being developed. When MGM Resorts entered into an agreement to develop the MGM Springfield facility, they were counting on attracting a significant number of gamblers from across the Connecticut border as there was no casino located nearby. The sudden move from Connecticut legislators and the two tribes have posed a new challenge for the MGM Springfield facility which is scheduled to open towards the end of 2018.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno played down the impact of the third Connecticut casino on his city and the MGM Springfield casino stating that the tribal gaming complex is nothing but a ‘slots in the box’ and would not have much of an impact on the MGM Springfield facility or the revenue that Springfield derives from the casino facility as the MGM Springfield casino was a completed package.
While the tribal casino in Connecticut will be smaller than the $950 million MGM Springfield facility, it will certainly pose a threat in terms of competition to the MGM facility as it is not too far away from Springfield. The tribes still need to get their specific site plan for the casino approved by Connecticut legislators. They plan to hold a signing ceremony and will confirm a date shortly. Should everything go as per plan, construction work on the facility could commence in a few months and the tribal casino will be opened before the MGM Springfield facility is completed.
 

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