EAST WINDSOR- East Windsor's Board of Selectmen voted 4 to 0 Saturday to accept terms of a development agreement with two Native American tribes to allow construction of a casino in a vacant movie theater just south of Springfield.
Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, said the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes will need the General Assembly to pass legislation this session authorizing the state's third casino.
The construction of a third casino received legislative approval two years ago, as the state has been looking for ways to fight competition from neighboring states. He said a casino license in southwestern CT "could be highly valuable because of the proximity to the NY market", and could possibly generate more money than what the state receives from the tribes.
Connecticut's new gambling venue will come as a direct competitor to the aforementioned multi-million-dollar project. While the tribes have operated gambling casinos in CT for many years, both are on tribal land and fall under federal laws. This, too, is expected to have negative effects on Connecticut's casino industry.
The tribes also are considering Windsor Locks locations. MMCT Venture representatives are negotiating such agreement with Windsor Locks officials, as well.
The East Windsor site is the former location of the Showcase Cinemas alongside Route 91.
The tribes plan to invest $300 million to create a 200,000 square-foot casino boasting 2,000 slot machines and 50 to 150 table games.
Although the construction of a third casino in CT has been approved by the state Legislature, the venture has had staunch opposition since it was announced. Traffic concerns have also been voiced in opposition to the project. This is the first time that state authorities are faced with the question of whether a non tribal casino can receive a gambling license.