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:
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.
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.
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 Two weeks ago it blasted the CAA’s proposed casino at Bradley International Airport — withdrawn in June — as a “horrible deal for taxpayers” involving “sweetheart” financing discussed in executive session that MGM said ignored the public interest.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?
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.