Five proposals for possible sites for casinos were submitted by four municipalities including Hartford.
The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes hope to open a jointly run casino to compete with a casino planned for Springfield, Ma.
East Hartford, East Windsor, Hartford and Windsor Locks have responded to the request for proposals from MMCT Venture, which is the company formed by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.
Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown said this process started as a way “to preserve thousands of jobs and millions in revenue.” Brown added that those jobs and revenue losses will come after MGM builds a casino in Springfield.
“As members of communities with deep ties to this state, we’re simply not going to let that happen without a fight,” Brown said. “With this phase complete, we can now begin to engage interested parties and save Connecticut jobs.”
Current Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said the capital city submitted a proposal to help attract jobs and create "needed revenue" for the city.
"Any opportunities for significant capital investments in the City of Hartford should be reviewed and analyzed to determine what, if any, detriments or benefits could impact the City," Segarra said in a statement on Friday.
Segarra said that the proposal was "very preliminary" and "just an expression of interest." But, no matter where the casino ends up in the Greater Hartford Region, Segarra said it will have an impact on the city of Hartford.
"For this reason, we have responded with our own proposal to keep that door open so that the next administration and the residents of Hartford will have the opportunity to weigh in on the process and make a final determination of what is in the best interest of our city," Segarra said.
The newly-elected mayor of Hartford Luke Bronin previously told Eyewitness News that he was not in favor of a casino in the capital city.
“What I’ve said on this is my instinct is a casino is not an answer to Hartford’s problems. If there is even going to be discussion about it, it needs to be a very public very transparent and very open one with the community of Hartford," Bronin said on Face the State.
"The point of this submission is to afford the next administration both council and the mayor to study and analyze whether this is an option they want," Segarra said.
Many East Hartford residents believe the old Showcase Cinema lot could be the spot of the new casino.
A developer, who’s interested in buying the property, has submitted a proposal on behalf of the town.
“We got into the game well in advance of this even being talked about at the general assembly, so it’s been a lot of work to this day,” Tony Ravosa with Silver Lane Partners said. “But I am pretty excited."
One of the biggest supporter is East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc, who got the town council to approve it.
"I am confident. We presented the best response to the request of proposal and I am confident this is a great opportunity for East Hartford,” Leclerc said. “And I am confident. There's no other side that could beat this location."
Other towns have been interested, but there have been roadblocks. The owner of the Enfield mall wanted it, but residents turned down the proposal.
In Windsor Locks, there was plan for a casino at the airport. But, two weeks ago, the Windsor Locks Board of Selectmen voted against it. However, the newly elected First Selectman Chris Kervick said he wants to keep the process and plans to file an extension.
Pearce Real Estate is the Connecticut-based real estate company that administered the request for proposals. Pearce Real Estate CEO Barbara Pearce said the evaluation of the proposals starts immediately.
“We’re gratified that so many have already engaged in this process. We’ll begin an immediate review of the proposals to determine which best meet our shared objectives,” Pearce said.
A selection is expected to be made by Dec. 15.
Lawmakers have to approve the proposal, which could take months.
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