Tribes name planned East Windsor casino “Tribal Winds”

by Administrator
in Casino

HARTFORD — MMCT Venture LLC, a joint venture formed by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, said Monday it will name its casino in East Windsor “Tribal Winds.”

Tribal officials plan on Tuesday to update the General Assembly’s public safety committee on plans for the development. The casino, north of Hartford and just 13 miles south of the MGM Springfield casino, has been stalled by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s refusal to immediately approve changes in the tribal agreements with the state of Connecticut — a requisite for moving forward.

Some lawmakers are looking to adopt a bill allowing the casino to be built without federal approval, which may not be allowable, according to an opinion by former Attorney General George Jepsen. Others think it’s time to eliminate the tribes’ exclusivity over gaming in Connecticut; they favor an “open bidding” process under which MGM said it would propose a Bridgeport casino.

Tribal Winds is expected to support 5,000 jobs from the start of construction through the grand opening, with at least 2,000 jobs for the building trades during construction and 2,000 permanent jobs at the facility once it opens.

“It is time now for Connecticut to move beyond the back-and-forth of the past few years and establish an open, competitive bidding process for a commercial casino,” MGM said in a written statement. “Let all qualified developers — including the Tribes — respond, and let the State decide which proposal is best. The vast majority of Connecticut residents support that approach. They’re right.”

Meanwhile, the tribes have presented themselves as a sure bet.

The Foxwoods Resorts Casino and Mohegan Sun have paid the state $7.5 billion over the past 25 years. The state gets 25 percent of gross slot revenue from the two tribal casinos.

Connecticut’s take over the last year was around $263 million. However, based on the competition from MGM Springfield since it opened last summer, the number was expected to drop to $203 million. The latest estimates have it yielding $248 million.

That revenue, according to the tribes, would disappear if the state opened the bidding process to a commercial entity.

The Public Safety and Security Committee will hear testimony from tribal officials at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Legislative Office Building in room 1D.

It’s unclear which side will prevail in what’s expected to be another legislative battle.

“Building on the iconic brands of our two flagship properties, Tribal Winds will be a world-class gaming and entertainment facility that combines our shared past with the proud local character of East Windsor,” Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council Chairman Rodney Butler said Monday. “This shovel-ready facility will create jobs and bring in new revenue for the state the minute we break ground.”