Connecticut’s 3rd Casino – Radisson Throws Hat in the Ring

Radisson Hotel Hartford, near Convention Center.

Radisson Hotel Hartford, near Convention Center.

It has been quiet on the MMCT’s plan for a third casino.  The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes of Connecticut formed MMCT Venture in order to compete with MGM Resorts International’s $950 million mega resort in neighboring Springfield, Massachusetts.

In February, East Windsor was eliminated for site consideration.  The two most viable sites seem to be Bradley International Airport and East Hartford.

The Pros & Cons of the airport site can be found in my previous posts:

CT Casino At Bradley Airport is Absurd

Bradley International Airport Hosting 3rd Connecticut Casino? – 4 Misguided Points

In some ways, desperation in both MMCT & MGM camps have continued to look like the old “square peg in a round hole” scenario, trying to force things into happening that just don’t fit.

Foxwoods/ Mohegan Sun Joint Casino, East Hartford, CT

Artist Rendering of renovated Cinemas building for MMCT Mohegan Sun/Foxwoods Casino

This week, Silver Lane Partners LLC, a group that has lobbied for months for a new casino in East Hartford, announced a major renovation proposal for the Hartford Radisson Hotel that would link the hotel to the proposed gaming site.  But again, it’s plan is flawed.  The Radisson might want a small piece of the CT casino pie, but how realistic is it for the casino’s clientele?

People who stay over because of the casino’s allure want to stay in a hotel where you can take the elevator and walk out into the casino, take part in casino’s entertainment, or enjoy the casino’s food and drink options, not wait for a shuttle to take you five miles, about 10-15 minutes depending on Hartford’s I-91 & I-84 traffic.  And people who stay at the Radisson for the casino connection would expect the advantage of using Momentum or Foxwoods Players card points to pay for it, as well as food & drink.

I-91 North, ahead you see I-84.

I-91 North, ahead you see I-84.

But according to the Journal Inquirer, the Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon feels the Windsor Locks areas around the airport still the best play, “considering the amount of money MGM is laying out to oppose the Windsor Locks location.”

MGM has sought to block any Windsor Locks casino. Two weeks ago it blasted the CAA’s proposed casino at Bradley International Airport — withdrawn in June — as a “horrible deal for taxpayers” involving “sweetheart” financing discussed in executive session that MGM said ignored the public interest. MGM has also asked the state without success to allow it to compete for the Connecticut casino.  What’s next, dropping pamphlets from the sky over the state legislature telling CT to surrender?

No buildings have gone up just yet, but there is a lot of important work being done underground for MGM Springfield.

No buildings have gone up just yet, but there is a lot of important work being done underground for MGM Springfield.

Traffic should guide their choice.  Easy to access, with major highways from all directions.  East Hartford IS the best option still, if the idea is to keep casino patrons and jobs in CT.  But time is being wasted, and MGM Springfield is ramping up.  Construction is increasing at a quicker pace, time that MMCT should also be using for development, as well as building.

A site needs to be chosen, and soon.

NETG, Binbin

2 thoughts on “Connecticut’s 3rd Casino – Radisson Throws Hat in the Ring

  1. binbin415 says:

    Thank you for your comment. I appreciate differing opinions. I hope you can also appreciate differing opinions.
    Have you been following MGM’s progress in Maryland, Georgia or Las Vegas? Have you followed the “nickel and diming” of MGM resorts bullying guests into paid parking and exorbitant resort fees in Las Vegas? Have you followed their Profit Growth Plan initiative to squeeze every penny out of their patrons? Check it out if you haven’t, and if you know all of the previous info and not accept it, then maybe you work for MGM. Let me take your points one by one as I see it:

    1) As far as the the comparison to Plainridge, you are mistaken. No it won’t be the size of MGM Springfield, which will be smaller than Twin River Casino in Rhode Island, but it will include a complete casino – table games, free drinks, restaurants, etc.
    2) They won’t be taking a small cut own of their own investments because the western part of CT still has other choices in New York state. If anything it will bring more and solidify the loyalty base built over 20 years.
    3) A Walmart full of machines? Wow, have ever spent time in either or both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun? They are equal to anything on the Vegas Strip – including over half of MGM’s properties – only the CT casinos offer better odds on table games and video poker.
    4) The MMCT casino is not meant to have skating and movies – it’s a casino. MGM is different in that it is supposed to be raising the the economic blight that is Springfield. It is an Urban Casino model. To compare them part by part is not the intentions of the Connecticut or the MMCT.
    5) So far, the courts have sided with MMCT on all aspects. MGM just wants a monopoly and no competition.

    Thank you Max for bringing up those points. Interesting email address……hmmm. Some people do believe what you have said. I appreciate your opinion.

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  2. Max says:

    I can’t see anything ever getting built.

    MGM is right. It’s a ridiculous notion that the state could do business with these two companies only without going through a public process.

    Beyond that most of these proposals look no more than Plainridge, a walmart building full of machines. I don’t think they’ll bring what MGM Springfield is bringing in terms of 4 star hotel, restaurants, skating, movies, etc. If anything they will just be taking a small cut out of their own investments in ledyard and uncasville.

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