MGM Springfield

Connecticut Third Casino Gets New Life in East Hartford

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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.

otb

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.”

Binbin

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

Connecticut Casino Proposals Running out of Time

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

Kevin Brown, left, Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council and Rodney Butler, right, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council,

According to the Kenneth Gosselin of the Hartford Courant, the tribes that operate the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos are seeking to jointly open and operate a gaming venue in the capital region to blunt competition from a megacasino now under construction in nearby Springfield. But to be honest, MGM continues to tweak it’s “megacasino” in a way more like downsizing the project due to the threat of Connecticut’s third casino. Click here for

Foxwoods/ Mohegan Sun Joint Casino, East Hartford, CT

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

For the past month, the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots have sought proposals from towns and cities.  The tribes said late last week that they don’t intend to announce the names of the municipalities submitting proposals when the deadline passes Friday at 4 p.m. But at least East Hartford and East Windsor appear locked in.

Bradley International Airport sign

Bradley International Airport & Casino not in the cards.

Previous considerations for Windsor Locks at Bradley International Airport and the Enfield Mall were voted down by town officials and residents.

The Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans envision a casino with 2,000 slot machines and 100 to 150 tables, with an estimated development cost of $200 million to $300 million. The size of the casino and other amenities would range from 150,000 to 350,000 square feet, with the latter half the size of MGM Springfield.

Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

Cinema in East Windsor for proposed casino.

East Windsor is the new entrant into the Satellite Sweepstakes. Denise Menard, East Windsor’s first selectman, said the town will propose a casino at another shuttered Showcase Cinema visible from I-91, about 8 miles from the East Hartford theater and a 12-minute drive away, and an adjoining property where there was once a Wal-Mart.

Both East Hartford and East Windsor have access to main interstate I-91, with East Hartford also having I-84 crossing in front of it.

The deadline passes after Friday, 4:00pm.

A few other posts along the MGM lines included:

Massachusetts More Worried, Not Mohegan Sun,  About New England’s Casino Share

Can Jim Murren; MGM Resorts Be Trusted in Springfield?

Binbin