Lawmakers hear testimony for proposed third casino - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers hear testimony for proposed third casino

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The proposed third casino would be built in East Windsor (Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes) The proposed third casino would be built in East Windsor (Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes)

A proposed third casino was discussed by lawmakers on Thursday morning, this time by the public safety and security council. 

Lawmakers in Hartford heard from different sides about the potential East Windsor gaming facility's impact on the area and the state.

"From the beginning, this has been about protecting Connecticut jobs, Connecticut revenue," said Kevin Brown, chairman, Mohegan Tribe.

Brown, along with Mashantucket Pequot chairman Rodney Butler offered their arguments on their joint venture.

"We wouldn't be here today if MGM wasn't constructing a facility just over the border in Springfield, MA," Butler said.

Committee members also heard from the town of East Windsor and people both for and against the project.

The town may have approved it, but there's opposition from residents like Denise Terry.

"The increase of gambling brings a lot of associated issues [such as] increased debt, bankruptcy [and] foreclosure, people using their disposable income at the casino," Terry said.

She said she is also worried that the casino's projected numbers are not realistic.

Supporters also argue that the gaming facility would bring in an estimated $40 to $50 million a year to the state. The Town of East Windsor would get about $8.5 million per year.

MGM brought one of its lead attorneys to testify against the proposal. He said his company has been shut out of the process.

"We'd love to have an opportunity to bid on a casino," said Uri Clinton, legal counsel, MGM resorts.

There are also legal challenges and concerns that a third casino would jeopardize a state agreement with the two tribes.

Chief Richard Velky of the Schaghticoke Tribe spoke on the matter as well and said he wanted to be involved in the project.

Opposition groups continue to seek a town referendum in East Windsor so voters can have more of a say.

Artist renderings of what could be the state's third casino were unveiled on Wednesday. 

The idea for the project, which is planned by the Mashantucket Pequot and the Mohegan tribes, is to have this casino compete with one being built by MGM's under construction Springfield casino.

The East Windsor casino would be built along Interstate 91 north at an old Showcase Cinema site.

The public safety and security committee will have some time to review the testimony before rendering its decision.

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