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

CT Casino At Bradley Airport is Absurd

Bradley International Airport sign
Bradley International Airport & Casino?

The Associated Press reported that the head of the Connecticut Airport Authority wants to bring a casino to Bradley International Airport.

“The airport represents a very viable location because of its significant levels of passenger traffic, and the CAA believes a casino can be incorporated into improvements that are being advanced for the terminal campus area,” said Kevin Dillon, the airport authority’s executive director.

southern New England

Location, Location, Location

However, Bradley Airport the 55th busiest airport in the country and only have 6 carriers in and out of it’s terminals at this time. ( I am counting American & American Eagle, for example as one company.)  The fact that fares are relatively higher on these carriers compared to New York or Boston. and are similar in status to Greene in Warwick, Rhode Island, have slowed any growth that was hoped for.  It is in the process of tearing down the old Terminal B.

Bradley Airports Terminal B, slated for demolition.

Bradley Airports Terminal B, slated for demolition.

For the latest update on the proposed renovation project at Bradley Airport from the Hartford Courant, click here.

I believe the Connecticut Airport Authority sees easy dollar signs prancing across the airport terminals without realizing what the State of CT is looking for to slot revenue. I also believe they don’t understand the clientele.

As the Mashantucket Pequots and the Mohegans working together to pursue a third property to compete to hold expected job and revenue losses going to the MGM casino planned across the state line, in Springfield, Massachusetts, state officials are looking to stave off one thing – loss of slot revenue to Massachusetts. For an earlier post to review, check out “Connecticut Casino Plans Continue to Take Shape.”

The airport is not the best place for the state’s financial needs – but maybe for the Bradley’s financial needs, which is why the CAA is pushing it for the third casino’s home. Why is it a bad idea for CT’s third casino?  Read on…..

  1. Gamblers want to visit casinos with little hassle and plenty of time to eat, drink and play in a comfortable environment. Fighting airport traffic, parking, noise and the general controlled chaos at any airport discourages gamblers that would spend the money that CT is looking for.  
  2. The transient crowd of passengers from the airport will not provide the revenue CT is looking for.
  3. Let’s face it, having a choice between a snazzy, new casino off the highway, or a snazzy new casino sharing space with an Airport away from the highway, (and they are 15 minutes away from each other) most gamblers will decide on the former, not the latter.

downloadWindsor Locks, the town where the airport is located, has been asked to consider working with the airport authority on the proposal.  A month ago, the community of South Windsor voted not to entertain any casino proposal in their town.  Community backing is a must. Will Windsor Locks vote differently?

AP reports “Windsor Locks First Selectman Steven Wawruck Jr. said the potential drawbacks to hosting a casino would have to be discussed but he is interested in exploring the prospects. ‘With shrinking state revenues and jobs on the decline, it’s important to explore all opportunities and keep dollars and jobs in Connecticut,’ he said.”

Explore all opportunities and keep dollars and jobs in Connecticut. That’s the point. If Connecticut wants to keep jobs & revenue, then traffic access, availability to build, community support, and a quick turnaround for operation are the main criteria for the third casino.

An airport and a mall in Enfield just won’t do.  East Hartford is the best offer so far.

But, what do you think? I challenge you to comment on two questions:

Is a third casino good for CT? Why or Why not?

and

Where should it be built – Enfield Mall, East Hartford Showcase Theater, or Bradley International Airport?

Send me a comment on your thoughts.

Binbin

 

 

Connecticut Casino Plans Continue Taking Shape

Mashentucket/Mohegan Joint Casino Venture

Three Possible Homes for Mashentucket/Mohegan Joint Casino Venture – Picture Credited to FOXCT News.

Enfield or East Hartford?  Where will the new CT Casino land? The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes said at their joint signing ceremony Sept. 10 that they wanted a location selected by the end of November.  It is expected that any casino in north-central Connecticut would include 2,000 slots and 100 to 150 table games. The goal is to open before MGM Springfield begins operations in 2018.

The Old Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford, CT

The Old Showcase Cinemas, East Hartford, CT

The first out of the gate was the old Showcase cinemas on Silver Lane in East Hartford.  Last Wednesday, planning and zoning commissioners approved a plan for a restaurant and entertainment venue development at the vacant movie theater.     Review the previous post concerning the the East Hartford proposal here.

Foxwoods/ Mohegan Sun Joint Casino, East Hartford, CT

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

According to reporter Mikaela Porter of  The Hartford Courant, “Developer Anthony W. Ravosa Jr. of Glastonbury, a member of Silver Lane Partners LLC, said that Wednesday’s approval was the first of a proposed two-phase plan to create a $200 million gaming facility at the site.”

Meanwhile, Enfield Square Mall wants to be the site of that casino and is offering a plan to Enfield City Council. Ms. Porter previously reported Enfield Square Mall management pitched a casino proposal to town councilors, calling it an “opportunity to create a new story” for the mall and community.

Enfield Square Mall, a 787,000-square-foot mall off the I-91 ramp at Exit 48, includes retailers, including Target and Macy’s, restaurants like Outback and Ruby Tuesdays and a 55,000-square-foot movie theater. Madison Marquette Real Estate Services owns the mall.

Enfield Square Mall

Enfield Square Mall – Possible sight for third CT casino.

But, East Hartford & Enfield would have the best access to major traffic routes – I-84 & I-92 respectively.  East Hartford seems the better of the two with a dedicated venue for just the casino – Enfield casino proposal would be sharing the with stores still alive in the Mall. Believe it or not, this concept has already worked.  Outside of Baltimore, Maryland Live! Casino shares their casino venue as part of a mall and it is the casino making the highest revenue for the state of Maryland.  So while the concept sounds weird, it has already proven to work.

 

Enfield Square Mall

                                                     This Macy’s would be the casino.            ^Hotel here                                                                                              Parking Garage here.

The proposal at the Enfield Square Mall includes a two-level casino in the 150,000+ sq. ft. space in the Macy’s at the bottom of the image below. Extending out from the mall, between the proposed casino and the Sears store would be a 300 room, 6 story, luxury hotel. An additional parking garage connected to both hotel and casino would extend further below the casino (Macy’s).

Finally, while East Hartford & Enfield seem viable candidates for the new casino, South Windsor has all along been letting the rest know that they are VERY interested in being home to Connecticut’s third casino.  The Town Council voted unanimously, but but still wait for the town’s approval through referendum.

That’s all for now.  For all of Mikaela Porter’s Hartford Courant Coverage, click here.

Binbin