MMCT Venture Chooses East Windsor for 3rd Casino

by Jim Hall

ConnecticutThe 3rd casino for Connecticut will be placed in East Windsor community if state approval is received.

The state of Connecticut has been working for some time to see a third casino added. The Mashantucket Pequot tribe and the Mohegan tribe decided to join forces and work together in what is known as the MMCT joint venture. The two tribes already operate the Mohegan Sun and the Foxwoods Resort casino on their respective tribal lands. The latest casino will not be located on reservation lands which has led to controversy within the project.

Location Finally Chosen

For over a year now, the MMCT Venture has been trying to narrow down their location choice, getting down the nitty gritty within the past few months to consider East Windsor as a serious choice for the casino’s new home. Over the weekend, the Board of Selectmen for the town decided to approve the city for the casino and now the tribes have announced they do want to build the $300 million casino in the town.

The location of East Windsor places the new venue within 13 miles of the MGM Springfield, a new casino set to open in Massachusetts after construction is complete. Connecticut has been worried about how the new venue will take away revenues as gamblers cross state lines so the tribal groups decided to go with East Windsor as a way to combat the new competition.

It was on Saturday that that Board of Selectmen in East Windsor decided to unanimously approve the tribes to set up their casino in the town. The tribes have agreed to pay $3 million upfront with $3 million more paid each year plus the regular tax payments. This should see the town earning $5.5 million each year from the new gaming venue. This money will certainly go a long way to helping the community and a driving point for the town to consider being the host community.

The company behind the new casino will also be hiring at least 4% of the workforce for the casino from the local community. A minimum of 15% of the workforce will have to be located within 25 miles of the casino. The tribes want to see the East Windsor casino become a hot spot, bringing back gambling dollars that might have moved into Massachusetts once the MGM Springfield casino is opened. The new casino by MGM Resorts should be opening by fall of next year. This gives the tribes plenty of time to get started on their new project.

Legal Issues

The project of MMCT Venture has had difficulty since being announced by the two tribes. The casino would be a venue that operates outside of the federally recognized territory of the tribes which has created quite the dispute. MGM has continued to try and fight MMCT on their new project, stating this past Monday that that the selection of East Windsor for the casino location hosts ‘a bad reality show’.

MGM feels that there are constitutional issue that are associated with giving the state license to the tribal groups in an anti-competitive non-bidding fashion. Other groups have shown interest but state lawmakers are set on allowing the MMCT Venture move forward with their casino plans.

Now, we just wait and see what MMCT Venture has planned for East Windsor. The group will need to gain approval for the venue from state lawmakers and the process can take time. It will be interesting to see if East Windsor is an approved location and how quickly the tribes will get started on the construction of the new casino.