Tribes closer to picking 3rd casino site, MGM heads back to court

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EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (WWLP) – MGM’s lawyers head to court on Monday to try and block Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods from building a new casino.  The 22News I-Team discovered the tribes are finally getting closer to picking a site.

We’re used to delays in the casino process Massachusetts, but the Connecticut tribes that run Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods are now a year behind schedule.  They do continue to push for a new casino in the Hartford Area.  Their goal is to keep Connecticut gambling money from flowing across state lines to MGM Springfield.

Five communities in Connecticut are being considered for a new casino;  East Hartford, Windsor Locks, South Windsor, Hartford and East Windsor.  The proposed site in East Windsor, at a closed down Showcase Cinemas along I-91 is just 14 miles away from MGM Springfield.

East Windsor 1st selectman Bob Maynard has a message for the city of Springfield.

“I wish you the best, and I have to thank you and MGM for building that casino I don’t think MMCT (the joint Mohegan-Mashantucket Pequot company authorized to seek a site for Connecticut’s third casino) would be considering a casino in our area at this time,” said Maynard.

In Massachusetts, each town had a say in if they wanted a casino. In Connecticut, the towns don’t have to hold referendums.

“I don’t think it would be necessary at this time we’re not considering it,”, said Maynard.

“If a decision is to be made, it should be made by the people,” said Dr. Anwar.

Dr. Saud Anwar is a town councilor in South Windsor, he doesn’t want a casino in his town. Their town manager was out of the office last week.

South Windsor put in an application in October, when the tribes re-opened the request for proposal process.  The tribes initially wanted to pick a casino site in December 2015 and open before MGM Springfield does in September 2018.  That time table is in jeopardy.   Nearly a year later, they haven’t settled on a site.

The 22News I-Team obtained monthly reports that the tribal leaders sent into state lawmakers.  Most reports don’t give away too much, but in September, the tribal leaders admitted the process is behind schedule, ” Although we’re eager to break ground, we only have one chance to do this right. And we have to get it right.”

We contacted the Connecticut Airport Authority about their proposal and they told 22News they didn’t have a site selected anymore, keeping it open-ended.  “While the Connecticut Airport Authority has withdrawn the two primary sites that were originally proposed for the potential development of a gaming facility in either our ground transportation center or a future Terminal B facility, Bradley International Airport has over 300 acres of developable on-airport property and we would welcome discussions with any entity interested in potential developments on any of those parcels. We are continuing to monitor and review the specifics of the procedural changes to MMCT’s RFP process, and we will fully assess those changes to determine  the best path forward for the CAA and Bradley.”

East Hartford developer Tony Ravosa was out of town last week, while their mayor didn’t respond requests for an interview.

We contacted the tribe’s leaders and neither was available to talk to us.

Connecticut state lawmakers go back to work in January.  It is expected that the tribes will have a site selected by then.  Lawmakers will then need to create a new law that approves a 3rd casino.  MGM’s effort to block this casino heads to the United States Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York City on Monday.

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