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?

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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.

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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.

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