HARTFORD, Conn. (WWLP) – The opposition to a third casino in Connecticut is getting organized. A number of civic and religious groups have joined to form the “Coalition Against Casino Expansion in Connecticut,” which held its first news conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford Tuesday morning.
The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes, which run the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos respectively, are proposing to build a casino off Interstate 91 in either Windsor Locks or East Windsor. The idea is to draw business away from MGM’s Springfield casino, which is under construction and expected to open in the fall of next year.
Reverend Dwight Dean, of the Windsor Locks Congregational Church said, “Connecticut’s casino revenues are down 40%, from their peak and this before a casino is built in Springfield.”
Supporters of the third casino say that it will prevent Connecticut from losing revenue to Massachusetts, and will protect jobs in the state. Opponents, however, say that it will bring about an increase in crime and gambling addiction. They also fear that allowing a casino in northern Connecticut would open the possibility for future casinos elsewhere in the state, such as in Fairfield County.
“The Coalition is especially concerned that while the proposed convenience casino would keep some Connecticut gamblers from going to the MGM casino being built in Springfield, it would expand casino gambling in Connecticut by making it more readily available to hundreds of thousands of state residents, thereby encouraging more people to gamble and adding to the state’s economic and social problems,” a news release from the Coalition states.
Several opponents gave examples of their own gambling addiction. “I took it from playing Bingo all the way to sleeping in a prison. Not for days, it was years I was there for my problem gambling,” Joanie Masot said.
Religious leaders spoke on what gambling has done to some of their members. “She had confessed it’s a shame that the reason she eats so much cat food that she can’t afford tuna fish because as her social security check comes out she goes down to spend it at the casino…and the house always wins,” Paul Sinnot, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America said.
MGM Springfield has gone to court to try and block Connecticut from building a third casino.
Click here to go to the coalitions website, which has a list of groups involved.