East Windsor shows mixed reaction to proposed casino - WFSB 3 Connecticut

East Windsor shows mixed reaction to proposed casino

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(WFSB) (WFSB)
EAST WINDSOR, CT (WFSB) -

People who live in East Windsor are not sold on a plan to bring a proposed casino in town, but some residents think it could transform the area.

The Mohegan and Pequot tribes have talked about their plans to bring the state's third casino to either East Windsor or Windsor Locks.

On Tuesday night, supporters of the project argued that the plan would bring a jackpot in East Windsor in the form of jobs.

Hundreds attended a public hearing to learn more about the project on the vacant showcase cinema.

"I think getting an understanding of the community concerns because again making sure this is the right fit for the community is what matters the most to us," said Rodney Butler, CEO of Mashantucket Pequot.

State lawmakers have given approval to both tribes so they can compete with MGM's new grand casino in nearby Springfield.

"Me living right there. I'm concerned about crime, and it's not something I want to see in East Windsor," said one resident.

Critics complained about the strain the casino could put on local fire and police services along with a host of other potential problems.

"If there's going to be a really pretty casino in Springfield, why would I stop here in East Windsor when I can drive 10 minutes up the roads," said an opponent to the plan.

More supporters did speak Tuesday night, and many of them are members of local unions. "Number one, what everyone is talking about is jobs. This will bring good paying jobs with benefits. It would mean revenue coming into the town, and it would support our school system and whatever we need." 

Some in town are also annoyed the proposal could be approved without a referendum.

The project is on private land so any vote could be non-binding, and tribe leaders believe time is running out to make a decision.

"Any delay in this process whether it's at the town level or state level is not going to be helpful," said Rodney Butler.

Ultimately state lawmakers will make the final call.

This comes right as a coalition of church leaders and other organizations have formed a movement to stop more gambling in the state.

They are part of a group against casino expansion for crime and gambling problems.

The group said it will educate the public and state officials about the economic and social impacts of another casino.

Tribal leaders want to open the new casino by 2018.

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