Foxwoods/ Mohegan Sun Joint Casino, East Hartford, CT
Artist Rendering of renovated Cinemas building for New Mohegan Sun/Foxwoods Casino – one of four possible sites

Brian Hallenbeck, the New London Day staff writer, reported this week a legislative committee rejected a bill Thursday calling for a study of the costs and benefits of commercial gaming in the state.  This was one of 3 scenarios that could have emerged.  The other two, included:

  1. Approving a study – which would delay the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes’ pursuit of a Hartford-area casino to compete against MGM Springfield, a $950 million resort casino being built in Massachusetts. It also might have confirmed the resent study by MGM that south western Connecticut was ripe for a better payoff to the state gambling revenue than the Hartford area.
  2. Finding the proposal for a third casino not in the best interest of Connecticut towns, residents, and would not complete the primary intention – to compete against MGM Springfield so Connecticut would not lose more than 9,000 jobs and over $100 million in state tax revenue.
the historic First Spiritualist Church

While the tribes have said they hope to open a Hartford-area casino before MGM Springfield’s anticipated September 2018 debut, they have yet to propose legislation that would enable them to open a commercial casino on non-tribal land. Time seems to be moving quickly, MGM Springfield continues to proceed. The demolition of the former Zanetti School and various other construction activity is moving forward. This week, preparation work for the planned relocation of the historic First Spiritualist Church from its Bliss Street location to a nearby Union Street site is scheduled to begin.  The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Was the study paid for and reported by MGM a tactic to distract the Connecticut legislation?  To postpone MMCT’s forward progress? Or was it a serious alternative to the competition at the CT/MA border?

The border of CT & MA.Springfield is only minutes from the CT side.
The border of CT & MA.Springfield is only minutes from the CT side.

We have seen approved casino proposals stopped in their tracks already – MGM postponed due to city infrastructure, Wynn due to additional law suits, and possibly CT’s third casino with the MGM/Schaticoke fair trade law suit still pending.  This could be a small victory for the Mohegans & Pequots joint effort.  The real heat will be generated by the law suits pending.  MGM Springfield continues to move forward amidst the turmoil.