Connecticut’s Third Casino Location Close To Being Finalized
Connecticut’s two Indian tribes who have partnered for launching the state’s third tribal casino delayed an announcement in December 2015 but two months on they have announced that the new casino location is close to being finalized. The Mohegan Tribe and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation are currently discussing a number of locations as a possible casino site and will most likely make a decision between Windsor Locks, East Windsor, East Hartford and Hartford.
By launching the new casino, the tribes hope to counter competition from neighboring states, especially Massachusetts where a $950 million MGM Springfield casino is expected to open in the next couple of years. The tribes received authorization last year from the Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the Legislature to set up a third gambling operation in addition to their existing two operations in an effort to keep Connecticut’s gamblers from going out of state.
Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos are located in the southeastern part of the state and are currently run by the tribes. The two casinos together have generated $7 billion in tax revenues for the state over the last 20 years. MGM’s proposed casino, which is aiming for an early 2018 opening, could impact the revenues that these casinos generate for Connecticut.
In a statement, Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council said,
One of our primary objectives in pursuing this new facility is to make sure that this mutually beneficial partnership continues long into the future.
According to the tribes, the economic impact of the MGM project to Connecticut’s casino industry and related businesses is estimated to cost them anywhere between $702 million to $100 million in tax revenues. They also estimate that 9,300 gaming jobs, both direct and indirect, would be lost due to the MGM Springfield project. The tribes have decided to push hard for the opening of the new casino and have already set up a website called www.ctjobsmatter.com which breaks down in detail why it is essential for Connecticut to set up a third casino. This information and push from the tribes is considered vital given that they still require final approval from the state’s legislators.
However, some lawmakers have warned against moving forward on the proposal in haste without evaluating its impact on the state. Mark Boughton the Mayor of Danbury has said that the better approach would be to take a step back and proceed only after an economic impact study has been carried out. According to him, the tribal authorities are trying to leverage the situation of a new casino in Springfield like it was a game and use it to their advantage.
The battle against the MGM Springfield project comes at a time when the state has lost General Electric to Massachusetts after it announced in January that it will be moving its headquarters to Boston from Fairfield in Connecticut.