CT’s Third Casino, An Underwhelming Reality?

Proposed MMCT joint venture casino between CT’s Mohegan & Pequot tribes

Last week, MMCT, the joint venture between Connecticut’s Mohegan and Pequot tribes, showed a slight blueprint of what the satellite casino planned for East Windsor, a blueprint that was underwhelming. The news was that it would include 2,000 slot machines, up to 150 tables, and a five-story, 1,800-parking space garage.

Steve Ruddock, a veteran of the gambling industry and longtime contributor to numerous publications including DFS Report, USPoker.com, and PlayMa.com.  As a resident of Massachusetts and a scholar of the gambling industry, Steve has a special perspective on the  gambling expansion in Connecticut.

Drawings were submitted to the town and are little more than a rough sketch a first glimpse at the thinking behind the $300 million development.  Steve’s analysis was quite good and can be read at “IT APPEARS EAST WINDSOR CASINO’S BIGGEST SELLING POINT IS A PARKING GARAGE”

Blueprint for MMCT East Windsor Casino.

Steve and I exchanged opinions and I believe I’m now leaning his way. He called it a “slot box.”  I hesitated when I read his opinion and asked him what constitutes a “slot box.”  Steve’s definition was “A casino without a lot of amenities. Somewhere you go to gamble and do little else.”  I must admit, after seeing his explanation, I do agree.  This third casino is not going to come close in comparison to MGM Springfield.  As presented, it IS a “slots box.”

It made me wonder what other slot boxes this size and this amount of table games and slots were in Las Vegas or elsewhere.

Of course there is Plainridge Park Casino and Raceway in Plainville, Massachusetts.  But that was the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s plan all along.

Elsewhere in New England there is Oxford and Twin River casinos in Maine and Rhode Island respectively, but both have completed, or in the process of completing a hotel.

NYC has its Empire City and Resorts World, both large slot joints, with no hotel. But these two casinos with few amenities are highly successful. East Windsor is a far cry from New York City concerning the number of available gamblers, so the comparison of how successful a slot parlor could be to keep revenue and jobs in Connecticut is questionable.

Resorts World, Queens, NY.

In Vegas, with that definition would you consider Casino Royale on the Strip, Dotty’s chain of slot joints, (much smaller, no hotel), and some of Downtown Vegas Casinos, like El Cortez and the Plaza, even though they have hotels.

It’s too bad that a hotel isn’t in the mix for East Windsor, never mind a good restaurant like Stack’s (Plainridge Park) or the many high end eateries at both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.  Or, how about some meeting space to add to the hotel to add to convention crowds from Hartford. In other words, there needs to be more incentive besides program loyalty to keep Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun patrons from crossing over the Massachusetts border.

Bottom line is, why not build a world class casino, smaller scale, like those in SouthEastern CT? Something that would be able to compete with MGM Springfield. Something that costs more than $900,000!

I’m not in favor of open bidding in Bridgeport, or anywhere else in CT. The future ramifications would open up a can of worms that would not fix CT’s financial woes. But I do think that East Windsor and the people of CT deserve better from MMCT.

Thanks to Steve Ruddock for inspiring this post.






Leave a Reply