Connecticut Third Casino Gets New Life in East Hartford


The Showcase Cinemas building is far right. I suspect the parking area left would be where parking garage would b, and including the rear parking lot as expansion..  Route I-84 is the highway running right in front of it.

I continue to say that East Hartford is the best bet for a third casino in Connecticut. And the reason is traffic – the infrastructure is there.  A person or group would prefer the easiest way with the least traffic problems to go visit.  Visiting a casino at an airport that is more than a mile and filled with lots of in and out travelers on single lane roads on the border will not keep Connecticut’s resident gamblers in Connecticut.

The partnership proposing a casino in East Hartford released details of its expanded gaming plans for the former Showcase Cinemas — a day before the deadline for submitting proposals to the operators of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

Foxwoods/ Mohegan Sun Joint Casino, East Hartford, CT

Artist first rendering of renovated Cinemas building for New Mohegan Sun/Foxwoods Casino

The proposal now would include both the vacant Showcase building and an addition that could be built to the rear of the existing building on what is now a parking lot.

Here are some comparisons.  The proposal includes:

  • space as large as 300,000 square feet (Twin River Casino is about 300,000 sq. ft.)
  • and with 2,000 slot machines (1.5 more slots than Plainridge Park)
  • and 150 game tables (less than half of the amount in either Foxwoods & Mohegan Sun).

A 2,500-space parking garage would be relocated just to the east of the abandoned Showcase building, in addition to a 1,200-space garage nearby.

Last month, the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans — the tribal operators of the state’s two casinos forming MMCT — reopened the search for proposals for a Hartford-area gambling attraction to compete with a $950 million casino and entertainment complex under construction in nearby Springfield. NETG assumes they were not happy with the Windsor Locks or Airport options.

MMCT had already eliminated a proposal from East Windsor, but East Hartford, Windsor Locks and Hartford were still in the running.

Radisson Hotel Hartford, near Convention Center.

Radisson Hotel Hartford, near Convention Center.

This proposal now also includes the potential for a “convention host” hotel at the Radisson in downtown Hartford.  Check our previous post “Connecticut’s 3rd Casino – Radisson Throws Hat in the Ring

Sportech Venues released a letter submitted to the tribes reiterating its strong interest in bringing the casino to their property which contains an off-track betting parlor and Bobby V’s Restaurant and Sports Bar. Ted Taylor, president of Sportech Venues, said “Our own gaming location is less than a mile away and with the support of an adjacent property owner, could quickly and easily be extended in a cost effective manner to lessen the impact of MGM Springfield.”  But again, there is the traffic problem of the airport across from it.  For the little business it gets, things are just fine. Triple, quadruple the traffic at that site, including the additional traffic to Bradley’s new renovated Terminal A and new parking garage?  I wouldn’t want to drive there.


Winners OTB across from Terminal B at Bradley International Airport. Bobby V Restaurant is also here. Remember Bobby Valentine, Red Sox fans? One and the same.

Tribal leaders last month said their goal was to bring a location to lawmakers during the next legislative session, which begins in early January.  The legislature still needs to give final approval to the site and commercial casino expansion off tribal land.

In any case, it looks like a while before it’s started if approved.  MGM Springfield will be well on their way to completing their “urban casino.”