Residents packed a town meeting in East Windsor on Thursday night and rejected a proposed referendum that would have pushed for regulations on a potential casino.
Hundreds of people attended the meeting, which started at the East Windsor Town Hall and had to be moved to an elementary school across the street to fit everyone.
A referendum, proposed by the casino's opposition, would have regulated how a casino would be licensed and operated once it was built.
They hoped to gain some traction in their fight, though the town already signed off on the development agreement with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes. The site for the casino is an old Showcase Cinemas movie theater off of Interstate 91.
In the end, however, the residents at the meeting voted 198-112 against a town referendum.
Now, it's in the hands of state lawmakers who have multiple casino expansion bills in front of them. The bills are all still pending.
"We are just at this point trying to regulate the gaming that's coming to town, if it comes," said Denise Terry of East Windsor.
There's also a fight between the tribes and MGM Resorts. MGM, which has a casino in Springfield, MA, is opposed to having the tribes build in East Windsor.
"While we think it is unfortunate that the residents of East Windsor have been denied a chance to voice their opinion on hosting a casino in their town, the news of the past few days regarding the state's finances has been eye-opening," said Uri Clinton, senior vice president and legal counsel, MGM Resorts International. "Given the magnitude of the growing-by-the-day fiscal crisis, it would seem like a really bad idea to jeopardize a guaranteed revenue stream of $250 million a year -- which is what the attorney general has said might happen if the legislature approves a casino in East Windsor."
Opponents continue to say that the fight is not over.
Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.